Bengaluru: Rajajinagar is one of the assembly segments in Bengaluru Central that is expected to have a straight fight between Congress and Bharathiya Janata Party. Since 1978, nine elections were held to the State Assembly but Congress candidates have succeeded in winning from Rajajinagar only two times – 1989 and 2004. While K Lakkanna got elected by polling 50,707 votes against Janata Dal candidate R V Hareesh who got 32,196 votes in 1989. N L Narendra Babu (Congress) defeated BJP candidate S Suresh Kumar in 2004 by a margin of 4,122 votes. While Babu got 67,899 votes, Suresh Kumar polled 63,777 votes.
However, Suresh Kumar of BJP continued (except in 2004) to represent Rajajinagar in the State Assembly since 1994 (four terms). Interestingly, Padmavathi G (the present Mayor of Bengaluru) had unsuccessfully contested against Suresh Kumar in 2008. Now, Padmavathi represents one of the seven wards (Prakash Nagar ward) of Rajajinagar assembly segment in the BBMP Council.
While Padmavathi failed to get a Congress ticket in 2013, she is being considered as a potential candidate for Congress in the next elections to the State Assembly. Meanwhile, there are rumours about Congress roping in hat-trick hero Dr Shivarajkumar to contest from Rajajinagar to the State Assembly. However, Dr Shivarajkumar has not responded to Congress leaders.
“Suresh Kumar has been doing excellent work in Rajajinagar. He is known for simplicity and workaholic nature. I think there will be no problems for Suresh Kumar to win again in the next elections,’’ said Ramamurthy S, a vegetable vendor at Ramamandira in Rajajinagar.
The recent spat between Suresh Kumar and Mayor Padmavathi over putting up banners of Rahul Gandhi and AICC general secretary K C Vengopal had created some awareness on how tax-payers’ money is being wasted to promote Congress leaders.
“The posters and banners outside Ramamandira playground, where women volleyball tournament was conducted, were removed only after Suresh Kumar and BJP activists staged a protest. I am not able to understand the logic behind putting up banners and posters of Congress leaders at an event organised by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP),’’ opines Mani K, a resident of Prakash Nagar.
It is alleged that Mayor Padmavathi has been trying to promote herself as the potential candidate for the next Assembly election. Leader of Opposition in the BBMP Council Padmanabha Reddy alleged that Mayor Padmavathi had misused her position by compelling BBMP Commissioner to sanction Rs 1 crore for conducting women volleyball tournament. He alleged misuse of funds on the pretext of conducting women volleyball tournament.
Suresh Kumar was conspicuous with his absence at the inaugural function of women volleyball tournament held at Ramamandira playground. While Padmavathi claimed that Suresh Kumar did not attend the function since he is not sure of his win in the next Assembly election. Responding to Padmavathi’s criticism, Suresh Kumar has said that it was too early to decide on a win or defeat in the next Assembly elections.
As of now, there are 1,94,557 voters in Rajajinagar assembly segment. While men dominate women voters, there are 15 other votes in this constituency. There are 99,860 men voters and 94,682 women voters in this constituency. Among the seven wards, four are – Dayananda Nagar, Basaveswara Nagar, Kamakshi Palya and Sri Ramamandira – represented by BJP corporators. Congress corporators represent Prakash Nagar, Rajajinagar and Shivanagar wards in the BBMP Council.
If the popularity and the winning track record of Suresh Kumar is anything to go by, it seems the present incumbent will have no hassles to repeat it next year unless Congress succeeds in convincing Dr Shivarajkumar to contest from Rajajinagar.