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Riding on Modi's shoulders, Mohan seeks to defy anti-incumbency

With 5 MLAs in kitty, Cong sees a chance to halt saffron march
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 00:33 IST
Last Updated : 13 April 2024, 00:33 IST

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Just as the sun was setting on the horizon, painting the sky with golden hue, Devaraju and Chandra Shekar, both in their 60s, were busy talking about many things as they passed time next to the water-deprived Nallurahalli lake in Mahadevapura. 

Throw them a question on politics and the forthcoming elections, they have the answer ready: disappointed with their incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) P C Mohan but are happy with the performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I will certainly vote for the BJP,” Devaraj says, while his friend concurs. “We have not seen Mohan in person nor heard of any work he did for the constituency. Our vote is for Modi,” they say. 

The sentiment, especially among the devout BJP voters, has been somewhat similar across all eight assembly segments, which come under Bangalore Central parliamentary constituency. Even as Mohan — who is a three-term MP and two-time former MLA – is facing a strong anti-incumbency on the ground, the Modi factor is helping him attract decent crowds both for rallies and indoor conventions. 

During a recent coordination meeting between BJP and JD(S) in Rajajinagar, the crowd was completely distracted even as P C Mohan spoke passionately about Modi’s performance in the last 10 years. On the other hand, Rajajinagar MLA Suresh Kumar attracted rapt attention as he began the speech with the ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan. When the speech ended, the crowd chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in one chorus. 

“The BJP government may not have come up with as many welfare schemes as the Congress but we have to prioritise dharma over development,” Vinayak R, a resident of Rajajinagar said. 

In the last election, Mohan – who defeated Congress’ Rizwan Arshad by 71,000 votes – got the highest lead in Mahadevapura (73,000), followed by Rajajinagar (42,000), Gandhinagar (27,000) and C V Raman Nagar (20,000). For the BJP candidate, the vote base appears to be largely intact in these segments. 

Best bet for Congress

Although the BJP has won three parliament elections in a row, the Congress is expected to put up a better fight this election. In the 2023 assembly polls, the Congress polled about 70,000 more votes in all eight segments of Bengaluru Central constituency as compared to the BJP.

At the moment, five of the eight segments are represented by the Congress MLAs. Of these, three are ministers in the Siddaramaiah-led government. On the flipside, not many, including ardent Congress supporters, know Mansoor Ali Khan, who is fighting the election with the Congress ticket for the first time. 

A beneficiary of guarantee schemes, Chandralekha, a Ulsoor resident, said she would vote for the Congress even though she does not know the candidate’s name.  

Congress supporters believe the party has the best chance to win this time. Rajesh K, a resident of KP Agrahara, said Gandhinagar constituency will spell trouble for  Mohan. “The BJP will not get as much lead here as it got in the last election,” he said.

“We had also requested the election officers to delete duplicate votes.” 

In the last MP election, the Congress did better than the BJP in three segments such as Sarvagnanagar, Shivaji Nagar and Shantinagar. The party, however, under-performed in Gandhinagar despite being represented by a senior Congress leader. 

P Ramesh Chander, a resident of Doddanekundi, feels the Congress erred in putting a right candidate. “Given his popularity, Zameer Amhed Khan could have fought better,” he said. 

He said, “Waveless elections are better as the focus will be on local candidates and their agenda for the constituency.” 

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Published 13 April 2024, 00:33 IST

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