Young turk takes on Cong veteran

Ramalinga Reddy is aiming for a double hat-trick

 It is the battle of Reddys in the BTM Layout Assembly constituency where the sitting Congress MLA and old warhorse Ramalinga Reddy is aiming to retain the seat.

Hoping to ward off the challenges by the BJP’s N Sudhakar Reddy and the J Ramesh Reddy of the JD(S), Ramalinga Reddy is trying to convince the rich and the poor, the literates and the illiterates as to why he should be elected.

The constituency comprises well planned areas of HSR Layout and Koramangala along with the less developed Ejipura ward. Its electorate are from across castes and communities.

The presence of around 25,000 to 30,000 voters from the Reddy community in the constituency with the 2.15 lakh voters, has played a crucial role in Ramalinga Reddy’s earlier victory.

He is perhaps the senior most MLA from the City who is seeking re-election. He was a minister in the M Veerappa Moily and S M Krishna governments when he was elected from the Jayanagar constituency for four times in a row. He shifted to the new BTM Layout constituency after the delimitation in 2008 and gets along well with his party workers and people of the constituency.

All these pluses do not give 60-year-old Ramalinga Reddy an edge over his younger rivals, both of whom are 36 and giving him a fight. Sudhakar Reddy and Ramesh Reddy are trying to cash-in on the ‘youth’ factor and, a cross-section of the voters believe that these youngsters are future leaders.

Of the eight wards in the BTM Layout constituency, six are represented by those from the Congress and two are held by the BJP. The Jakkasandra ward, which is perceived to be a BJP stronghold, is held by Sudhakar Reddy’s mother Saraswathamma.

It is said that the Congress is likely have an advantage in the six wards where there is a mixed bag of voters, including a sizeable minority population.

The dissidence factor is also being cited as a major cause of worry for the BJP as ticket aspirant and the Lakkasandra corporator, K Mahesh Babu, was asked to withdraw from the race on the last day of filing of nominations.

Further, the controversial Sirsi Circle-Agara junction signal free corridor being pushed by the BJP regime may also give a slight advantage to Ramalinga Reddy.

However, residents of the Koramangala believe that Ramalinga Reddy may have lost his ground during the same period for not being proactive and not supporting the cause of the residents.

Ramesh Reddy, a political novice, can fancy his chances only if there is a split in the vote bank of the Congress and the BJP.

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