Triangular contest in Basavanagudi

Sitting MLA pitted against Oxford-educated professor and rich realtor

Triangular contest in Basavanagudi

Will the sitting MLA Ravi Subramanya of the BJP be able to do a Ramakrishna Hegde in the Basavanagudi constituency?

This is a widely speculated question as in the recent past no other MLA has been re-elected from this constituency except for former chief minister the late Hegde, who had won in 1985 and 1989.

A close look at Basavanagudi’s poll history reveals that the voters here prefer change and, they do not hesitate to vote out any candidate.

And, more importantly, Basavanagudi residents look beyond caste considerations while exercising their franchise. Though there are around 70,000 Brahmins voters in the constituency, except for Hegde and Ravi Subramanya, all those elected in the past 30 years were non-Brahmins.

These facts coupled with ‘anti-incumbency’ factor have made Ravi Subramanya to strain every nerve for the crucial votes. However, he has not been facing much negative vibes.

Political irony

As a political novice, Ravi Subramanya banked heavily on his party in the 2008 polls. Now, with the party’s image dented, his supporters are pinning a lot of hopes on his clean and non-controversial image and caste.

The Congress has fielded Prof B K Chandrashekar, who is a Brahmin, with a clean image in public life.

For the Oxford educated Prof Chandrashekar, connecting himself with the people may not be that difficult as a majority of the voters in the constituency are well-educated. But, Prof Chandrashekar is not free from worries. The confusion over former MLA and former mayor K Chandrashekar’s move to contest as the rebel candidate may take its toll.

Although Chandrashekar has withdrawn from the contest, much depends on how the Congress candidate will utilise the networking the former mayor has in the constituency. Chandrashekar, who is a four-time BBMP corporator and one-time MLA (2004), has considerable clout in the constituency.

The JD(S) is aiming to benefit from the fight between the two Brahmin candidates – Ravi Subramanya and Prof Chandrashekar.

The JD(S) has, therefore, fielded rich realtor K Bage Gowda who is a Vokkaliga. There are an estimated  40,000 voters from the community in the constituency, which has sent Vokkaliga leaders such as H L Thimme Gowda, H N Nanje Gowda and K N Subba Reddy to the Assembly.

The party’s calculation is simple: Division of Brahmin votes between the BJP and the Congress and consolidation of Vokkaliga votes in its favour would ensure its candidate’s victory. The calculation appears to be far-fetched as such consolidation is difficult in this constituency.

A businessman by profession, Bage Gowda has assets of about Rs 249 crores. But, Bage Gowda is a political novice.

Moreover, JD(S) star campaigner H D Kumaraswamy is not campaigning in Basavanagudi as frequently as he is doing in the neighbouring Chamarajpet where party’s sitting MLA Zameer Ahemad Khan is contesting.

Civic amenities

Though major parts of the constituency are well-developed with better civic amenities, there are some pockets which are facing the problem of faulty sanitary and water supply lines. Besides, the constituency has four slums with poor amenities.

The Congress and the JD(S) candidates are trying to put the blame on the sitting MLA for these problems. Ravi Subramanya, however, said that he has got a major project sanctioned from the BWSSB to replace old sanitary lines in the entire constituency and, the problem will be solved permanently.

With the candidates from three major parties having their own pluses and minuses, they are leaving no stones unturned to woo voters.

Ravi Subramanya is playing local and outsider card to project himself  as the choice as Prof Chandrashekar and Bage Gowda do not belong to the constituency.

Ravi Subramanya says, “People are happy with my performance in the last five years. I have not only maintained 100 per cent transparency in administration but ensured speedy redressal of people’s grievances.” Prof Chandrashekar insists there is a wave in favour of the Congress in the constituency and people want a change, while Bage Gowda says H D Kumaraswamy’s image would make people vote in his favour.

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