Drinking water scarcity, waste management are main issues

The battles in the Assembly constituencies making up the Mysore urban area — Chamaraja, Krishnaraja and Narasimharaja — are interestingly poised.

In the Chamaraja Assembly segment, H.S. Shankarlinge Gowda has won four consecutive times on BJP ticket. He is now seeking re-election as the Janata Dal (Secular) candidate. Mr. Gowda was expected to have a tough time in the 2008 elections after delimitation, as areas dominated by caste Hindus, considered traditional BJP supporters, were merged with Krishnaraja Assembly segment. The redrawn constituency included religious minorities, Dalits and other backward class communities, yet Mr. Gowda won.

His nearest rival last time was the former Mayor Vasu (Congress), who is contesting this time too. Mr. Vasu believes a “wave of popular support” for the Congress, anti-incumbency and instability that marked the BJP’s rule will work in his favour.

Even his own party workers are doubtful of the prospects of L. Nagendra (BJP), the former chairman of the Mysore Urban Development Authority. However, he is expected to chip away at Mr. Gowda’s vote share.

No smooth ride

The Krishnaraja Assembly constituency is reckoned to be a BJP stronghold, with a higher concentration of Brahmins, but this did not prevent M.K. Somashekar, from a backward class community, from winning in 2004 on Janata Dal (S) ticket. Mr. Somashekar is now with the Congress.

Minister for Medical Education S.A. Ramdas has won from here in 1994, 1999 and 2008, but it is by no means going to be a smooth ride for him this time.

H. Vasu (Janata Dal – S) is expected to cut into Mr. Somashekar’s share of votes from backward class communities. Meanwhile, K. Rajeev (Karnataka Janata Paksha), is expected to cut into Mr. Ramdas’s support base.

Narasimharaja Assembly segment, with a predominance of voters from Muslim, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, has long been a Congress bastion, being represented by the Sait family for decades.

BJP’s E. Marutirao Pawar sprang a surprise in 1994 when he wrested the seat from the Congress. Though the BJP has been second on four occasions since 1985, it is by no means a key challenger here.

Sandesh Swamy (Janata Dal – S) is a serious contender and Abdul Majeed of the Social Democratic Party of India could split the Congress vote.

The common issues in all constituencies pertain to drinking water, rehabilitation of slum-dwellers, solid waste management and civic amenities.

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