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Voters unaware of candidates here

Tanu Kulkarni
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It is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies that often causes skin rashes, allergies and wheezing amongst its residents. Mandur village is less than kilometre away from the landfill, where the city’s garbage is dumped. It is part of Mahadevapura constituency, which is ironically represented in the Assembly by none other than the State’s Health Minister Arvind Limbavali.

Thirty-one-year-old Kantharaj C., a farmer who participated in the protests last year when the residents urged the civic body not to dump waste at Mandur, said: “Over the past few years, we have been living such a terrible life. All our negotiations with the government have failed and they continue to dump garbage in the landfill. We are tired of the government’s empty promises.”

After the protests peaked in December 2012, the government promised to control the spread of diseases and stench by spraying chemicals at the landfill site. “This was done regularly for a few days after the protests. Now, it is not very regularly done. Why should we vote? ” he questioned and added that a large number of residents in the village had decided to boycott the polls.

Apart from Mandur, people in other parts of the constituencies such as Garudacharpalya, Hoodi and Hagadur suffer from drinking water scarcity and spend close to Rs. 1,000 a month on private water tankers. The constituency which is reserved for Scheduled Castes candidate is home to people from diverse economic backgrounds as a large number of IT parks, commercial complexes and gated communities stand beside small and shanty areas.

Keeping this mind, most political parties have decided to focus their campaigns in areas with people from low income groups.

Canvassing has also been limited to certain pockets as several gated communities do not allow candidates to enter their premises. When The Hindu visited the area, a large number of voters remained unaware of the candidates.

The number of voters in the constituency has increased from 2.75 lakh in 2008 to 3.68 lakh in 2013. It remains to be seen if people would head to the polling booths on May 5 as the voter turn out in Mahadevapura in 2008 stood at 53.17 per cent.

BJP candidate Mr. Limbavali is facing a Lokayukta probe as he is accused of favouring DLF for allegedly showing official favours to real estate firms by permitting violation of the Revised Master Plan (RMP) to facilitate illegal constructions.

However, given that Mr. Limbavali managed to secure 52.16 percent votes in 2008 and the fact that most political parties have fielded lesser known candidates, it appears that he could have an advantage over the rest of them. It remains to be seen if BSR Congress’s star candidate Mayur Patel, an actor in Kannada movies, will make an impact. In the 2010 BBMP polls, the Congress won seven of eight BBMP wards and it appears that the Congress candidate could give a competition to Mr Limbavali. Even as Mr Limbavali is confident of making the cut, Congress candidate A.C. Srinivasa who was the former president of Bangalore Urban Zilla Panchayat, said, “I have been campaigning door to door and I have observed that people are unhappy about the lack of development in the constituency. People are tired of the BJP and want a change. I am certain that people will give me an opportunity.”

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