Bengaluru: Mahalakshmi Layout assembly segment is known for temples and greenery. It is represented by Gopalaiah K of Janata Dal (Secular) who graduated as an MLA from a corporator representing Vrushabhavathi Nagar ward. He was a corporator from 1996 to 2001.
Mahalakshmi Layout with around 2.66 lakh voters is considered is a hotspot for commercial activities. However, narrow roads, traffic issues and shortage drinking water continue to haunt the voters of this constituency. It is not that the incumbent MLA is not doing anything to fix these problems but he is yet to succeed in his mission despite having an advantage of his party JD(S) having an alliance with Congress in the BBMP.
His wife Hemalatha was elected as Deputy Mayor of Bengaluru in 2015 while Congress candidate B.N. Manjunatha Reddy became the Mayor. A number of developmental works were taken up with the help of Hemalatha in 2015 and Gopalaiah continued to have a hold on the BBMP since Mayor could not afford to ignore him. JD(S) support is must for Congress to remain in power at the BBMP.
“We are very happy with the performance of our MLA Gopalaiah. We can meet him without any hassles. He is ever ready to visit the areas on regular intervals to fix the civic and infrastructure-related problems,’’ opines G.D. Mallinath of Atmeeya Geleyara Balaga 2nd Stage Residents’ Welfare Association, Mahalakshmipuram.
There are 2,66,310 voters in Mahalakshmi Layout assembly segment and among them, 1,38,675 are male voters and 1,27,600 are female voters while 35 are others. N.L. Narendra Babu of Congress won from this constituency in 2008 with a majority of 3,225 votes against R.V. Hareesh of BJP in 2008. Hareesh, who was Deputy Mayor of Bengaluru, got 39,427 votes while Babu polled 42,652 votes.
However, Narendra Babu was defeated in 2013 by JD(S) candidate Gopalaiah with a huge majority of 15,370 votes. Political analysts did not consider Gopalaiah as a competitor to Congress candidate since the contest was between Congress and BJP candidates. Gopalaiah polled 66,127 votes while Babu succeeded in getting only 50,757 votes.
Mahalakshmi Layout assembly constituency consists with seven wards. While four wards – Marappanapalya, Nagapura, Shakthiganapathi Nagar and Vrushabhavathi Nagar – are represented by JD(S) corporators, two wards – Shankaramath and Mahalakshmipuram – are represented by Congress corporators while one ward – Nandini Layout – is represented by BJP corporator.
Many of the voters said that they prefer to vote for Gopalaiah in the next Assembly election. They said that Gopalaiah played a key role in getting compensation to around 70 property owners from Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) which had acquired their properties for widening the Outer Ring Road. It may be recalled Mangala, one of the land losers, attempted suicide on the BDA’s premises after her repeated visits to the BDA office failed to get compensation.
“I will vote for Gopalaiah in the next election. I have never seen such a proactive person. He deserves my vote in the next Assembly election,’’ said Shankar Rao, a resident.
Despite the adverse publicity during the Rajya Sabha elections, Gopalaiah is set to get elected in the next Assembly elections. Gopalaiah was identified with JD(S) dissident MLAs led by Zameer Ahmed but later the JD(S) leadership withdrew his suspension. “My aim is to work for the welfare of voters in the constituency. I will continue to work with the blessings of JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and under the guidance of JD(S) state president H.D. Kumaraswamy,’’ Gopalaiah said.
If Congress and BJP fail to field strong candidates, Gopalaiah is set to romp home with a huge majority in the Assembly elections to be held in April/May.