The straight fight between the Congress and the Opposition combine in this Vokkaliga heartland of Bangalore Rural is more of a prestige issue. The Congress wishes to wrest the constituency, while for the Janata Dal (Secular), it is a question of survival. Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy from Janata Dal (Secular), is contesting from here for the seat which her husband had to give up following his win in the Assembly polls earlier this year. On the other side of the divide, D.K. Suresh, brother of D.K. Shivakumar, is contesting from the Congress.
The JD(S) is being supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with senior leader R. Ashok openly campaigning for Ms. Anita towards the end of the electioneering.
The Congress polled over 5 lakh votes in the recent Assembly elections in the eight segments that fall under Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency. The JD(S) got 4.7 lakh and the BJP 2.5 lakh votes. The JD(S) hopes that the alliance they have with the BJP will bring them the latter’s share of votes. The flip side, however, is that it could adversely affect minority votes in the region.
Political equations have changed in the last three months. Congress, besides seeking support of Karnataka Janata Paksha president B.S. Yeddyurappa and Samajwadi Party leader C.P. Yogeshwar, has also succeeded in bringing BJP’s M. Srinivas in Bangalore South, and H.M. Krishnamurthy of the KJP in Kunigal into its fold.
Of the eight Assembly segments that come under this constituency, while the JD(S) has a hold on three (Magadi, Ramanagaram, Kunigal), Congress holds sway over three others (Kanakapura, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Anekal). Rest of the two seats are shared by the BJP (Bangalore South) and the Samajwadi Party (Channapatna).
A close observation of these constituencies reveals that intricate alliances have made the situation quite tricky in several areas.
For example, though the Congress fared badly in Channapatna , it is likely to improve its position because of the support extended by Mr. Yogeshwar. On the other hand, the JD(S) is in a better position in Magadi, but it is difficult to retain the margin of the previous Assembly polls, as H.M. Krishnamurthy, who secured significant votes, is working for the Congress now.
The JD(S) has an upper hand in Bangalore South, with the support of BJP leader R. Ashok and local MLA M. Krishnappa. In Rajarajeshwarinagar, Congress now has M. Srinivas of BJP on its side.
With all these alliances and counter-alliances at play, the situation in Bangalore Rural is being watched keenly.