Though named after the saint-poet Sarvajna — who is known for his three-line verses of wisdom — there is nothing ‘saintly’ about this Assembly constituency as it poses a challenge to the police when it comes to law and order. Many areas in the densely populated localities — with their narrow bylanes — here have been classified as ‘sensitive’.
Also, of the eight wards in this constituency — created in 2008 during the delimitation exercise — six are yet to see proper civic amenities and infrastructure. People — mostly from the lower middle-class — residing in these underdeveloped wards endure unhygienic conditions that often pose a threat to their health. The remaining two wards — HBR and Banaswadi localities — largely present a contrasting picture.
A large swathe of this constituency was part of the erstwhile Byatarayanapura city municipal council (CMC) till it was brought under the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in 2007. But residents here have not witnessed any appreciable upgrading of infrastructure after it came under the BBMP.
Water is an issue
“Though some facilities like Cauvery water supply have been provided recently, residents of some localities, like Narasimhaiah Layout that has pipeline connectivity, are still living without water supply,” said Mohammed Sadullah, who runs a hardware shop on Kadugondanahalli Main Road.
“Except asphalting of some roads, I have not seen any improvement in infrastructure after the area came under the BBMP. Works on Cauvery water line and underground drainage system had commenced when the areas were under the CMC and we had paid user fee for these facilities,” said Nagawara resident Ashraf Pasha.
Kammanahalli resident Arun Kumar conceded that Kammanahalli main road has undergone a metamorphosis because of branded lifestyle products’ franchisees have set up shop there. But, he observed, interior localities face the same old problems — of garbage piling up, mosquito menace and so on.
Congress’s K.J. George, who had won the previous election by a margin of 22,608 votes, is seeking re-election from this constituency.
Among the 14 candidates in the fray, 12 belong to either religious or linguistic minority communities as these communities form a major chunk of the electorate here.
Padmanabha Reddy, a BBMP councillor from Kacharkanahalli ward, is contesting on BJP ticket. He dumped the JD(S), from which he was elected to the BBMP, just a few days ahead of the last date for filing nominations. He had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections on a JD(S) ticket in 2008.
Giving ticket to an outsider like Mr. Reddy has caused serious heartburn among party cadre and those within the BJP who were aspiring for a ticket. This factor could have some impact on the BJP’s performance in the election.
Among other contenders are Syed Mohid Altaf of JD(S) and Michael B. Fernandes, a veteran labour union leader and brother of the former Defence Minister George Fernandes, who is contesting from the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP).
Interestingly none of the candidates contesting from the three major political parties — Congress, BJP and JD(S) — has any criminal cases booked against them. Unlike previous elections, this time two women are in the fray.
Curiously, the number of voters in this constituency has come down by nearly 27,000 — 2,77,103 voters compared to 3,04,880 in 2008. However, only 1,07,946 (35.41 per cent) had exercised their franchise in the 2008 elections, giving the constituency the dubious distinction of recording the lowest voter turnout in the State.