K.V. Subramanya

Ramakrishna Hegde was the last to win the seat twice in 1985 and 1989

BANGALORE: During every Assembly elections, people from across the State evince a keen interest in the happenings in Basavanagudi. The urbane constituency in South Bangalore is reputed to have the highest number of educated voters and of electing candidates on their individual merit.

Of the 224 constituencies in the State, Basavanagudi has the least number of slums and is apparently a well-developed area in Bangalore.

In the past, Basavanagudi voters have blessed stalwarts such as the former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde and T.R. Shamanna and rejected political heavyweights such as Haranahalli Ramaswamy, renowned administrator N. Lakshman Rau and actors Ananth Nag, Vajramuni and Uma Shree.

In the 2004 Assembly elections, the Basavanagudi voters broke the tradition and elected Congress candidate K. Chandrashekar, a Dalit.

In the past 40 years, only a Brahmin or a Vokkaliga candidate had represented Basavanagudi in the Legislative Assembly.

Second, the Congress has never regained the Basavanagudi seat after it lost the seat to the Janata Party in 1978.

Mr. Chandrashekar, who is seeking re-election, would create another record if he succeeds.

In the last 20 years, no candidate has won the seat twice after Mr. Hegde, who won from here in 1985 and 1989.

Mr. Chandrashekar is locked in a triangular contest with industrialist and political greenhorn Ravi Subramanya of the BJP and the former Sakaleshpur MLA H.M. Vishwanath of the Janata Dal (Secular), who is a rank outsider in the constituency.

Meanwhile, the profile of the constituency has undergone a change following delimitation. Earlier, Basavanagudi, Hanumanthanagar, Srinagar, Kempegowdanagar and V.V. Puram wards constituted the Basavanagudi constituency.

Now, Kempegowdanagar and V.V. Puram wards have been brought under the Chickpet constituency, while Srinivasanagar ward from Uttarahalli Assembly Constituency has been merged with Basavanagudi.

With the delimitation, the Basavanagudi constituency has lost several of its landmarks such as the historic Gavi Gangadhareswhara temple, Ramakrishna Ashram, the National College, the Sringeri Shankar Math, the famous Vidyarthi Bhavan restaurant and Gandhi Bazaar, which are located either in Kempegowdanagar or V.V. Puram wards of the BBMP.