The insatiable real estate sector has changed the appearance of this once predominantly rural landscape. Over the last decade, high-rises have sprung in the idyllic villages on the city’s outskirts.
This fast-paced development in large areas coming under Bangalore South Assembly constituency has brought with it civic woes as infrastructure has failed to match the population growth. Smaller roads choke with heavy traffic, garbage clearance remains an issue and water scarcity continues to haunt though two main Cauvery lines carrying water to the city pass through this constituency.
“None of these problems are new; but over a period of time no one has attempted to address these issues. The area has grown haphazardly,” said Shankar J., long-time resident of Vasanthapura. He added that the property prices have appreciated despite these drawbacks.
A vast swathe of this Vokkaliga-dominated constituency came into Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s fold in 2006-2007 after 110 villages were merged to form Greater Bangalore. More than six years after the merger, villages in the constituency grapple with the same problems that existed before. Bangalore South was carved out of the vast Uttarahalli Assembly constituency before the 2008 election. Some landmarks in the constituency include the Bannerghatta National Park, the Central Jail at Parappana Agrahara and Jigani Industrial Estate.
Old timers here say that though the area has been witnessing change, its political character has not changed much. “The village-level, influence-wielding politician in the erstwhile panchayat limits is as much in demand as in the past. Political fortunes depend on how these leaders are managed,” quipped an octogenarian resident at Doddabidarakallu village.
It is this dynamics that the contenders here are trying to exploit and all the three major political parties — the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) — have fielded candidates from the dominant Vokkaliga community which accounts for more than half of the total 4.47 lakh votes.
First-time BJP legislator and former zilla panchayat member M. Krishnappa is being challenged by journalist-turned politician Tejaswini Gowda, Congress nominee and former Member of Parliament from the erstwhile Kanakapura parliamentary constituency (of which Bangalore South was a part). Realtor Prabhakar Reddy, whose declared assets is Rs. 167 crore, is making his electoral debut on the Janata Dal(S) ticket.
There is some resentment against legislator Krishnappa — particularly in areas such as Vasanthpura and Anjanapura — on his alleged preferential treatment favouring his vote banks and this could affect his chances.
Ms. Gowda’s fortune will depend on the support that she gets from the party cadre. “Women, who helped Tejaswini defeat the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in 2004, are crucial this time, besides the support of the local leaders and cadre,” a Congress leader said.