Land developers, industrialists, owners of educational institutions are having a go at contesting polls
BJP candidate from BTM Layout has assets worth over Rs. 300 crore
BJP nominee from Pulakeshinagar has only Rs. 1,000 cash
BANGALORE: Bangalore, which is home for people belonging to various linguistic, religious, cultural and economic groups, presents a picture of mini India. Multi-millionaires and slum dwellers, illiterates and highly qualified professionals, daily wage earners and highly paid techies all comprise the electoral mosaic.
Accordingly, the 84 candidates from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) contesting the Assembly elections from 28 constituencies in Bangalore reflect the city’s cosmopolitan character. From school dropouts to those with doctoral degrees and master’s degree in surgery, law and business administration are in the poll fray. People whose mother tongue is Telugu/ Tamil/ Malayalam/ Hindi/ Marathi are also trying their luck in this election.
The highlight of the elections this time is that 45 candidates fielded by the parties are first-time contestants, several of them political greenhorns. However, a glance at the economic background of the candidates reveals that a majority of them are millionaires.
Most of candidates belonging to the BJP, Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) who have declared that their assets are worth over crores. Incidentally, most of these rich candidates are land developers and builders who have profited from the real estate boom triggered by the IT revolution in the past decade.
BJP candidate from BTM Layout G. Prasad Reddy is the richest of the candidates with assets worth over Rs. 300 crore. He is followed by fellow land developer Kupendra Reddy, the Congress candidate from Bommanahalli, who has properties worth over Rs. 180 crore.
Some other land developers/builders, having assets worth crores, contesting the elections are Nandish Reddy (BJP, K.R. Puram), D.U. Mallikarjun (BJP, Shanthinagar), M. Satish Reddy (BJP, Bommanahalli), C. Manjunath (Janata Dal-Secular, Bangalore South), L. Muniswamy (JD-S, K.R. Puram), Panchalingappa (JD-S, Yeshwanthapur), M. Krishnappa (Congress, Vijayanagar), Andanappa (JD-S, Dasarahalli) and K.C. Ashok (Congress, Dasarahalli).
Some industrialists, television cable operators and owners of educational institutions, who are worth crores, are also in fray: M.R. Seetharam (Congress, Malleswaram), Hemachandra Sagar (BJP, Chickpet), B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan (JD-S, Chamarajpet), Prasad Babu (JD-S, Padmanabhanagar). Besides some 24/7 politicians and former ministers R. Roshan Baig, R. Ashok, Katta Subramanya Naidu, Ramalinga Reddy, A. Krishnappa and K.J. George are among the millionaires in the fray.
The most impoverished of the candidates is the BJP nominee from Pulakeshinagar constituency, B.C. Mylarappa, former Sociology professor of Bangalore University.
He has claimed that he has only Rs. 1,000 cash.
The BJP candidate from Rajajinagar, S. Suresh Kumar, has declared that he has a car and cash of Rs. 20,000, including bank deposits.
The Janata Dal (United) candidate from Anekal, C. Topaiah, who was once a bonded labourer, claims that his average daily expenditure is Rs. 50.
The caste break-up of the 84 candidates from the three major parties show that Vokkaligas, Reddys and Naidus together have got over 50 per cent of the seats. In all, the BJP, Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have fielded 30 Vokkaligas, eight Naidus and six Reddys. Half of the Vokkaliga candidates are from the Janata Dal (Secular).
While BJP has given tickets to three Brahmins, the lone Brahmin candidate from the Congress is Dinesh Gundu Rao (Gandhinagar). There are no Brahmins among the Janata Dal (Secular) candidates.
While the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have both fielded three Muslims and one Christian candidate each, the BJP has not given ticket to these communities. The BJP nominee from Shivajinagar, Nirmal Kumar Surana, is a Jain. Apparently, K. Chandrashekar, the Congress candidate from Basavanagudi, is the only Dalit contesting from a general constituency.
While the Congress has fielded two Malayalis — K.J. George and N.A. Harris — the BSP candidate from K.R. Puram, T.J. Abraham, is also a Malayali. All the candidates from the Reddy and Naidu communities are Telugu-speaking. Marathi is the mother tongue of the BJP candidate from Chamarajpet, Shyamsunder Gaikwad.