Contrasting picture of development emerges from either side of the busy Mysore Road in Bangalore — one of well laid-out areas with basic amenities in place and the other of heavily populated localities crying for attention.
Heaps of garbage lying uncleared in the narrow bylanes and choked drains are a common sight in the densely populated pockets in Padarayanapura, Azad Nagar, Chalavadi Palya, Rayapura in the Chamarajpet Assembly constituency, where a large number of urban poor reside. On the other hand, the old Chamarajpet residential area, where the middle and upper-middle class reside, have tree-lined wide roads with some semblance of order.
“Our wards also get the same funds as others do. Then why should we live in a slum-like conditions when wards in BDA-developed areas are clean and hygienic?” asked Nisar Ahmed, a cloth merchant in Padarayanapura.
An angry Nayaz Basha, who pointed at the hurriedly done-up road and drain work, which have again collapsed in many places, said: “Many works were taken up in the last two or three months in great hurry. But over the last five years, we have hardly seen our representatives hearing our woes.”
As he spoke toThe Hindu, he and his neighbours were busy removing the silt from the drain that had choked. “We do it ourselves because corporation employees don’t come in time,” he said.
On this canvas of contrasts, an interesting fight promises to unfold between two-time Janata Dal (Secular) legislator and former Minister for Wakf B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, former policeman and Congress candidate G.A. Bawa and two-time BJP councillor from Chamarajpet ward B.V. Ganesh.
Also in the fray is the former Deputy Mayor and KJP candidate Shahtaj Khanum. Before the delimitation process, the undivided constituency had also returned the former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna to the Assembly for a brief period.
Meanwhile, calculations on caste and religious lines are being drawn.
“Muslim voters who number nearly 65,000 of the total 1.74 lakh are the key. The next highest are the Tamils with about 25,000 votes,” said A. Raghu, a customer at a tea stall on Chamarajpet Main Road. There are many other communities too that have votes between 6,000 and 15,000, he added.
Chamarajpet constituency houses Keshava Shilpa, the RSS headquarters which has had a great influence on the BJP Government over the last five years. In the midst of the constituency is also the expansive Idgah Maidan. The two seem to symbolise the diversity of the voter profile here.