Roshan Baig has edge in political marketplace called Shivajinagar

Roshan Baig has edge in political marketplace called Shivajinagar

One of the first areas to develop without a plan, Shivajinagar, is home to all kinds of markets.

People in the minority-dominated constituency have been living a quiet life despite the poor infrastructure.

The (re)entry of former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu as the main opponent from BJP has queered the pitch against sitting MLA and Urban Development Minister Roshan Baig, with many looking forward to a close fight.

Naidu had represented Shivajinagar twice in 1999 and 2004 before he shifted to Hebbal, post-delimitation in 2008. Baig, who was representing Jayamahal, switched to Shivajinagar as the former ceased to exist.

When the two were contesting from these constituencies, there were rumours of a secret pact that they were helping each other. But now, it's a pitched battle.

Naidu did not contest from Hebbal in 2013 after being jailed in a land scam. He is contesting after being discharged by the high court. He has taken up development as the election plank, raising issues of corruption and poor sanitation. Baig said he was open for evaluation. “People know what I have done and what my opponent has done,” he said.

He cited the Rs 200-crore worth works on Bowring medical college and additional faculty at Gosha hospital as his achievements. Except Vasantnagar, the Congress holds sway over all the other six wards.

“Two BJP leaders, M Gopi and former corporator Saravana, have joined Congress,” a ruling party corporator said. While Saravana’s entry is expected to bring in Tamil votes, Gopi has the potential to draw BJP votes, it is said.

Some residents said the BJP’s anti-minority image was a cause for worry. “Even if we seek a change, the news about condition of minorities in BJP-ruled states is a concern,” said Abdul Nazeer of Jayamahal.

People in the constituency say they don't expect any major development as many problems remain unresolved. Shivajinagar, the centre of the segment, is yet to lose its stink, thanks to poor garbage management at its markets.

Residents said the area around Russel Market turns a dumping yard every night as animal waste is thrown away by shopkeepers.

Mohammed Idrees Chowdury, general secretary of Russel Market Traders Association, said the animal waste and wet waste was dumped by shopkeepers in the markets in Bharati Nagar ward (91) as there is no dumping yard.  

Residents in Benson Town expressed frustration over Bank Board Road, dug up thrice in eight months.

Joel Samuel, founder of Benson Town RWA, said they have drawn up a common manifesto for the leaders. “Last time, poll percentage was just about 50%. We want to increase it by 20%,” he said.

Speaking to DH, Baig admitted garbage management was an issue, but said the solution was not simple.

“It includes infrastructure and good workforce. The government has raised the pourakarmikas’ salary and more reforms will follow,” he said.

Abdul Azeez, president of Vasant Nagar Resident Welfare Association (RWA), said unchecked encroachment of footpaths by vendors and college students for parking bikes had made the area unsafe for pedestrians.

Last year, residents of Bamboo Bazar had protested against the plan to acquire a part of Madina Masjid Grounds for a Metro station. Activist Rajkumar Dugar said he had requested all candidates to push for the Metro station at the original location near Cantonment railway station.

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