The Congress, which had let the Bangalore Central constituency slip away the last couple of times, feels that the seat is up for grabs this time around.
The party hopes to capture the seat which was wrested by BJP’s P C Mohan in 2009 - the year it was carved out of Bangalore North and South. Mohan had managed to retain the seat by defeating its candidate Rizwan Arshad by a margin of 1.37 lakh votes.
The Congress is, however, facing the problem of plenty, when it comes to ticket aspirants.
Defeated candidate Arshad, who subsequently became an MLC, is hoping to contest elections again. Senior leaders, including Roshan Baig, B K Hariprasad, Saleem Ahmed and H T Sangliana, have been lobbying for the ticket.
There is also resentment among many of the leaders representing the backward communities that both times, Congress chose a Muslim candidate.
Though he was elected as an MLA from Shivajinagar during the 2018 Assembly elections, Baig is looking at contesting the Lok Sabha elections. Baig, who is miffed with his party leadership for not making him a minister, has been making frequent trips to New Delhi to convince the high command to consider him.
“I strongly feel that a local candidate should be given the ticket. Arshad, who was defeated last time, is from Mysuru. But I have grown up on the streets and bylanes of Bengaluru. I am somebody who is accepted by the other communities also. The high command hasn’t promised the ticket to anybody yet,” said Baig.
Leaders pushing for Arshad’s candidature, however, claim that four out of the five MLAs representing Bangalore Central, and 26 out of 30 corporators from there had vouched for his candidacy. “The party survey also suggests that he will be a better candidate,” said a leader.
Of the eight Assembly segments under Bangalore Central - Sarvagnanagar, Shivajinagar, Shanthinagar, Gandhinagar and Chamarajpet - are held by the Congress, while C V Raman Nagar, Rajajinagar and Mahadevapura are held by the BJP.
When contacted, Arshad said that he had not got any confirmation from the party. “Ever since losing the elections in 2014, I have been in the constituency working among the people,” he added.
Hariprasad feels that Congress should distribute seats in the four Bangalore constituencies based on the population of communities. “The four seats should be distributed among a Vokkaliga, a Brahmin, an OBC and a Muslim,” he said.
Sitting MP Mohan is all set to face the elections for the third time.
“I am confident of winning the seat by a larger margin this time. People are very happy with schemes rolled out by the Centre, and their speedy implementation. The suburban rail project, which was on the backburner for the last 30 years, is finally a reality,” he added.