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Updated: April 24, 2013 11:07 IST
KARNATAKA ASSEMBLY POLLS

Water issues swamp other concerns

Muralidhara Khajane
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Every day, residents of Nandini Layout pray for water in their taps. “If our taps run dry, we have to wait for at least three days for the private water tankers to arrive,” said V. Prema (47).

The situation is not very different in the other six wards under Mahalakshmi Layout Assembly constituency. “The drinking water scarcity has been posing a problem over the past two years. There was no supply problem earlier,” claimed Sannamma, who works as a domestic help at Marappanapalya.

Incumbent MLA N.L. Narendra Babu also admits that people are thirsty in most wards in his constituency. This, he claims, is due to the reduction in quantity of water being supplied to the area while the Cauvery 4th Stage project was commissioned and blamed it on lopsided development strategy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

Underdeveloped areas

Though it is part of the core city areas, thickly populated and underdeveloped Vrishabhavathinagar, Shakti Ganapathinagar and Marappanapalya, which came under the city corporation limits in 1996, continue to cry for attention.

Citizens in these parts say infrastructure in Deenabandunagar, Saraswatipura, and parts of Kamaskhipalya is in dire need of improvement.

H.N. Devaraj (53), a former government employee, said development is skewed in the area.

“The revenue sites were notified by the Bangalore Development Authority but the area was not developed. However, with even that stuck in a limbo, our fate hangs in a balance.”

To this, MLA Narendra Babu claims that the issue can be resolved with the amendment of the BDA Act.

The other major issues that plague the residents are irregular garbage clearance and traffic congestion. Over the past decade, the constituency, which used to be one of the important residential areas in the city, has become business location.

Contrasting pictures

Contrasting pictures of development and under-development are evident in the seven wards.

Though well-connected to the central business district, citizens who spoke to The Hindu expressed concern over the increase in traffic and sound pollution over the years. “We have to crawl from the Navarang junction to Kurubarahalli because of heavy traffic,” complained B.S. Renukaradhya, a resident of Vrishabhavathinagar.

Caught up with local problems, the middle class here is not worried about larger issues concerning the State. The constituency has caught the poll fever early with candidates of three major parties arduously wooing voters.

A triangular contest between Mr. Babu (Congress), Gopalaiah (Janata Dal - S) and S. Harish (BJP) is evident. While all three are promising voters to solve the water crisis, Mr. Gopalaiah and Mr. Harish have also assured them of getting the BDA to denotify land and issue title deeds to slum dwellers.

Anti-incumbency factor

Both Mr. Babu and Mr. Harish are facing anti-incumbency factor, what with the former being a sitting MLA and latter belonging to the ruling party. Said to be a Vokkaliga-dominated constituency, there is considerable presence of Lingayats, Muslims and other communities. Caste equations may also come into play here.

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