Bengaluru

The many tongues of Bengaluru

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Political parties believe that various linguistic groups will play a role in at least 70 of the 197 wards

As the city goes to polls to elect their civic body representatives, the linguistic diversity of people is expected to have some ramifications.

The ruling Congress released its manifesto in five languages (Kannada, English, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi) and summoned actor-turned-politician Kushboo to campaign for its candidates in Tamil-dominated areas.

All political parties believe that different linguistic groups will play a role in at least 70 of the 197 wards. “Though caste is a major consideration for selection of candidates, political parties have not sidelined the language factor either,” said a senior Congress leader.

As per the 2001 population census, the percentage of Tamil speaking people (18.43) in Bengaluru is the highest after the Kannada speaking population (41.54 per cent). The lowest is Konkani speaking population (0.71 per cent).

The diversity has increased in the last 14 years with Bengaluru turning into the dream destination of working professionals across the country, says L. Hanumanthaiah, Chairperson of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA).

“The percentage of Kannada speaking population was 32 per cent according to a reply given to me for a question posed in the Legislative Council in 2005,” he said. “Since the winning margin in BBMP polls will be small, linguistic minorities can become a deciding factor.”

Political leaders cutting across party lines admit that the Tamil speaking population will make difference in Gandhinagar, C.V. Raman Nagar, Vannarpet, Agaram, Shantinagar while Telugu speaking people will influence the outcome in Yelahanka, Hebbal, Chandapur, Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli. Malayalam speaking people are influential in K.R. Puram and Dasarahalli constituencies while Urdu speaking people will have a bearing on the fate of a few candidates in Chamarajpet and Shivajinagar constituencies.

Languages spoken (%)

(Based on 2001 census)

Kannada - 41.54

Tamil - 18.43

Telugu - 15.47

Urdu - 12.90

Hindi - 3.41

Malayalam - 2.95

Marathi - 2.22

Konkani - 0.71

Others - 3.18

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2017 4:31:06 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/the-many-tongues-of-bengaluru/article7568755.ece