Shivajinagar Assembly Constituency in Bangalore may boast having in its midst the Vidhana Soudha and the Raj Bhavan, both celebrated locations that attract a steady stream of VIP convoys. But barely a kilometre or two away, near the iconic Russell Market in the heart of the constituency, common people struggle to negotiate their two-wheelers on the slushy narrow lanes, flanked by mounds of freshly removed silt and piles of carelessly thrown garbage. The Charminar Mosque Road, leading out of Russell Market, virtually turns into a lake every time there is rain. This is because the storm-water drain that cuts across the road is choked with garbage and waste from nearby hotels and meat shops. Welcome to Shivajinagar, whose eateries draw people from across the city for its spicy biryani and succulent kebabs, and whose meat shops cater to the requirements of hotels across the city.
The bustling area draws thousands of people from across Bangalore to Bowring Hospital, St. Mary’s Basilica, the bus terminus and to the well-stocked retail shops within its lanes and bylanes.
“But the residents of this locality are fed up. The roads are perpetually congested. The drains are choked. There is water scarcity. Nobody bothers about garbage removal here,” cribbed 67-year-old Shahmeer Chaudhary, who has seen several families shift out of Shivajinagar to other parts of the city. Residents, who have chosen or forced to stay behind, are cynical. For them, the coming Assembly elections is a non-event. “Whoever is elected, it doesn’t matter. There is little hope for our area,” said Mozammil, who runs a shoe shop here. The former Minister and Congress candidate R. Roshan Baig, who is seeking re-election from the area, is undeterred by the cynicism. According to him, over the years, not only has the population grown, even houses and shops have been adding more floors, putting pressure on the civic infrastructure.