B.S. Ramesh

The vote share of the Congress in Bangalore South has been declining

BANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party has been steadily gaining ground in the Bangalore South parliamentary constituency. The party’s vote share has been increasing with every election, while that of the Congress has been declining, though two former Chief Ministers — Kengal Hanumanthaiya and R. Gundu Rao represented it.

The BJP has won the seat consecutively for the last five times. When the BJP first contested the seat in 1989, it managed to corner only 8.73 per cent of the valid votes cast. Since then, it has been increasing its vote percentage. In 1991, it won the seat when its candidate K. Venkatagiri Gowda secured 46.01 per cent of the votes cast and defeated the Congress candidate Gundu Rao, who got 41.45 per cent of the votes.

In 1977 K.S. Hegde (father of Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde) won the Bangalore South seat on a BLD ticket and defeated Hanumanthaiya of the Congress. While Hegde secured 53.04 per cent of the votes, Hanumanthaiya got 43.21 per cent.

In the next two elections in 1980 and 1984, the Janata Party won the seat. In 1980, T.R. Shamanna won securing 51.22 per cent of the votes as against 45.13 per cent polled by D.P. Sharma of the Congress. In 1984, V.S. Krishna Iyer won with 57.12 per cent of votes as against 45.29 per cent polled by Venkatagiri Gowda of the Congress.

The 1989 elections saw Gundu Rao romping home with 57.34 per cent votes cast in his favour. He defeated M. Raghupathy of the Janata Dal who secured 24.09 votes. In 1991, Mr. Venkatagiri Gowda who had switched sides from the Congress to the BJP won with 46.01 per cent votes, defeating Gundu Rao who received 41.45 per cent of the votes cast.

In the 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 elections, H.N. Ananth Kumar of the BJP emerged victorious defeating Varalakshmi Gundu Rao, D.P. Sharma, B.K. Hariprasad and M. Krishnappa, respectively.

However, this time around the constituency profile has undergone a radical change thanks to the delimitation exercise. Apart from Jayanagar, the sprawling residential area, it also includes the traditional Basavanagudi, Banashankari, Gavipuram, V.V. Puram, the busy Kalasipalyam area, Koramangala, Bommanahalli, Puttenahalli, Begur, Singasandra and Kudlu. Traditional BJP strongholds of Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, Chamarajpet and Gandhinagar are no more a part of Bangalore South.

There are eight Assembly constituencies, including, Jayanagar, Basavanagudi, Chickpet, Vijayanagar, Govindarajanagar, Padmanabhanagar, BTM Layout and Bommanahalli. The old areas of the city, such as Malleswaram, Rajajinagar, Gandhinagar and Chamarajpet, are no more part of it.

According to the Election Commission, the constituency has 19.6 lakh voters. Of them, only 9.22 lakh voters have voters ID cards. Bommanahalli has the highest number of voters (3.12 lakh) among the eight Assembly constituencies. The BJP currently holds five Assembly constituencies — Bommanahalli, Chickpet, Basavanagudi, Padmanabhanagar, and Jayanagar, and the Congress Vijayanagar, Govindarajnagar and BTM Layout. The BJP candidate has won from the constituency five times without a break since 1991.