Cong, BJP hope to breach JD(S) stronghold

JD(S) candidate and incumbent MLA K Gopalaiah is confident that he would win again. (DH file photo)

Famous for the narrow roads winding down the hilly terrain, Mahalakshmi Layout has the contrasting issues of water scarcity and flooding.

The area is sandwiched between Peenya Industrial area and a cluster of residential neighbourhoods. The excessive traffic is something the slim roads can barely withstand.

The incumbent K Gopalaiah is confident that he would win again. The JD(S) candidate wrested the seat from the then Congress nominee, N L Narendra Babu.

Being a Vokkaliga, Gopalaiah has the support among his caste, while he also has a good equation with the Telugu-speaking Naidus, the other major community in the segment.

Babu, who lost to Gopalaiah by a margin of 15,370 votes in 2013, is contesting as a BJP candidate after switching camps last year after accusing the Congress of sidelining him.

Babu hopes to ride on the BJP wave and “raise issues that were ignored despite reminders”.

“The constituency has got Rs 450 crore as development funds, which didn’t change anything,” he said. “Wasteful expenditure and shoddy work have denied people any benefits.”

Tough challenge

The Congress has fielded a 28-year-old political greenhorn H S Manjunath, state NSUI president, who has a tough challenge in the hustings.

Residents in Nandini Layout, Kurubarahalli and Mahalakshmipura admitted to DH that water supply has been relatively better, though things would be back to worse in the summer.

Bheema Raju B G, a resident who works with Citizens for Bengaluru and Bangalore Political Action Committee, said leaders should look at comprehensive development instead of cosmetic changes.

“Rainwater harvesting should be a must to avoid the flood menace, which claimed five people last year. Garbage processing plants are yet to become a reality. The one that has come up has not been functional,” he said.

In October, a priest died after slipping into a stormwater drain in Kurubarahalli.

Krishna Murthy, neighbor of the victim Vasu, said the work to cover the drain began a fortnight after the tragedy, but is yet to be completed. The drain was open at least in two places when DH inspected it on Thursday.

In the lower middleclass and poor neighbourhoods, basic amenities were lacking. “Politicians come and go, but we’re yet to get water and roads,” M Mahesh, a Dalit leader from Kanteerava Nagar, said.

Mahesh said garbage collected in the layout is discarded near the slum area and leaders ignored the persistent protests against the menace.

While Gopalaiah and Babu acknowledged the issue, they attributed the delay in solving it to the land ownership that stalls development activities.

Gopalaiah assured that the stormwater drain will be permanently lidded in two years’ time.

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Cong, BJP hope to breach JD(S) stronghold

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