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As campaigning enters last phase, Turf war for Bengaluru intensifies


Bengaluru, With the battle for ballot for the May 12 Assembly polls in Karnataka entering the citical phase turf-war for Bengaluru city has intensified further as several heavyweights are trying their luck in the city’s 27 of the 28 constituencies and prominent among them being the likes of cabinet ministers like Ramalinga Reddy,Roshan Baigh, K j George, and Krishna Byre Gowda. For BJP few prominent leaders contesting elections in the city are a turncoat from JD(S) Vasudeva Murthy and sitting legislators like Aravind Limbavali, S R Vishwanath, Y.A. Narayanaswamy and senior leader Katta Subramanya Naidu.Election to Jayanagar has been countermanded following the demise of BJP Candidate B N Vijayakumar who was in the fray for a third term. For prestigious Shantinagar assembly segment, which BJP is keen to wrest this time, the party has named former mayor and popular advocate Vasudeva Murthy. In 2013 contesting as JD(S) nominee Murthy had lost the seat to Haris while BJP had finished third. Mr Haris has been winning the seat in two consecutive elections. In 2013 during a clear pro-Congress wave, BJP could win only 12 seats compared to 13 by Congress and 3 by JD(S).“Our seats tally in Bengaluru will be 15 to 20 this time,” says BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who also accused Congress government of gross neglect of the city during last five years.Of hand, infrastructure, traffic congestion, poor conditions of lake, garbage and growing Pollution concern are major issues. Lately there has been the issue concerning women safety too and during electioneering none other than BJP's star campaigner Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accused Congress of turning Bengaluru into a city of garbage.As expected,Congress president Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister and said Mr Modi has only "insulted" the people of the city by his rhetoric. Renuka Viswanathan, a former IAS officer, will be contesting the election from Shantinagar on AAP ticket. The first woman collector in Karnataka and a former member of the Planning Commission is pitted against two-time MLA and incumbent Congress candidate NA Haris and BJP's Vasudeva Murthy. "Last five years have seen total destruction of the city......All these have happened due to combination of reasons. The Congress definition of development is construction and projects. This mindset comes from the fact that a builder has been appointed as development minister (K J George)," says BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar. "Bengaluru is a city and Karnataka is a state where there are maximum number of PILs by citizen organisations against the government. It is like the government is at war with the citizens instead of being responsible to the citizens,"he remarked and claimed that Congress focus has been only on putting up new buildings and as a result the city's aesthetic beauty has suffered. Of course the charge is denied by the Congress. Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chatuevedi has said that contrary to the allegations from BJP, it is the Congress government of Siddaramaiah which tried to bring back the 'glory' of Bengaluru city. It is not only Ms Chaturvedi, many other Congress leaders in the city have alleged that it is the BJP which has always tried to"block" development in Bengaluru during last few years.They further say nearly 75 to 80 per cent of sewage treatment project work for Bellandur Lake is complete. Other BJP candidates are Y.A. Narayanaswamy for Hebbal constituency and a prominent leader Katta Subramanya Naidu is pitted against Roshan Baig in Shivajinagar. For Mahadevapura assembly in the outskirts, the BJP leadership has rested faith in the sitting MLA Aravind Limbavali.A BJP worker from Mahadevapura also says that with many new residents moving in the last few years, the voter base has gone up 3.80 lakhs. This constituency now houses well known corporate and IT giants including Dell EMC, Ericsson, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Samsung and Wells Fargo. In Yelahanka, the sitting BJP MLA S R Vishwanath, according to local residents, "enjoys good rapport with party workers and also migrant workers". Meanwhile, the BJP is also keen to tap neo-setllers in the city. As part of the electoral strategy, the saffron outfit has been making special endeavours in constituencies like Yelahanka, Mahadevapura and C V Raman Nagar to tap the large army of IT firms work force and other 'new settlers' into the city. "A specially designed electoral strategy has been unleashed in some of these constituencies. Mahadevapura assemblysegment around Outer Ring Road covers Kadugodi or Whitefield localities, Bellandur ward on Outer Ring Road and also hubs like Marathahalli. This region is now a major information technology hub. The civic requirements of people here should reflect the aspirations of outsiders and new comers into the city," says a BJP poll manager from the constituency. Similar feedback has come from Yelahanka assembly segment where BJP has renominated the sitting legislator S R Vishwanath.

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