A constituency of extremes

Bengaluru: Chamrajpet assembly constituency is marked by stark contrasts. On one hand there are people who carry out back breaking labour to eke out a living and on the other there are the affluent ones, sitting on huge fortunes.

On one side there are well-laid layouts, designed none other than former Diwan of Mysore Sir M Visvesvaraya, and on the other there are slums, leaking sewer pipes, clogged drains and garbage pile ups.

It houses slums such as Azad Nagar, Chalavadi Palya, Bakshi Garden, Anjanappa Garden, Padarayanapura, Jagajeevanram Nagar and on the other end there is Chamrajpet, a well-developed area. While one area has all the basic necessities, the others are totally deprived. 

In the slums there Is a substantial population of Muslims and Tamil speaking people. JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda is credited with transforming a novice B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan into an MLA and the face of the minority in the city. But he later fell out with Mr Zameer, when the latter moved to Congress. 

The former Prime Minister  has now thrown his weight behind Altaf Khan.  Local residents claim there will tough fight between Mr Zameer, who will be fighting on Congress ticket, and Mr Altaf. Some feel that a split of minority votes between Mr Zameer and Mr Altaf could favour BJP, which has fielded B.V. Ganesh, a two-time BBMP Councillor from Chamrajpet. 

In addition, JD(S) has to also contend with a rebellion as Mr Altaf’s candidature has upset a section of party workers. Imran Pasha, who the BBMP standing committee Chairman, had even met party President H.D. Kumaraswamy to express his displeasure in this regard.

For slum resident it hardly matter who wins. All they wish and hope that the winning candidate carries out some real work to improve their quality of living. 
“Heaps of garbage is dumped right at the entrance of Chalavadi Palya 2nd Cross. Right from domestic wastes to those generated by nearby commercial establishments, are dumped here. Loads of garbage gets cleared the everyday morning, but people keep dumping all through the day," complained Harish, a resident of Chalavadi Palya, an area dominated by Tamil speaking people.

He added that due to garbage dumping, the drains get blocked, thereby leading to breeding of mosquitoes. Some of the houses in the slums of Anjanappa Garden, Flower Garden, Bakshi Garden do not have toilets. And as the public toilets are poorly maintained, open defecation is prevalent in the area. 

Some people claimed that the slum pockets house a lot of unemployed youths and they are exploited by politicians. They are used to collect haftas, run kangaroo courts, indulge in usury and threaten people. 

The people, who interacted with Deccan Chronicle, lamented about lack of any development plans for those residing in slum pockets of the constituency. 
When this newspaper tried to contact Janata Dal (Secular) candidate  Altaf Khan he received the call and said, “I am busy canvassing at Bakshi Garden.” Repeated calls to Mr Zameer Ahmed were not answered.

‘Zameer did nothing, people regret electing him’
Q and A with B V Ganesh, Probable BJP Candidate

What is the buzz in the constituency?
People of the constituency are unhappy with the performance of sitting MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan. They have hardly seen him in the past five years. Even when he comes to the constituency, he is surrounded by hundreds of his supporters, which scares the voters. They do not dare to stop him and tell him about their problems. 

Why have people not made it an issue?
Not a single developmental work has been taken up in the constituency under his tenure. Along with the Muslim population that voted for him, others too are lamenting their decision to elect him as they feel Zameer did not work for them. They feel that he visited the constituency rarely and distributed some money to his people. There are many slum pockets in the constituency, like Azad Nagar, Chalavadi Palya, Bakshi Garden, Anjanappa Garden, Padarayanapura and Jagajivanram Nagar, and everyone here, whether he is rich or poor, is waiting for a change.  

Why should people vote for B.V. Ganesh?
Unlike Zameer, who is an outsider to the constituency, I am a local resident. I will be readily available to serve people. I represented the Chamrajpet ward in the BBMP twice and I know the real issues bothering people, like garbage, drinking water in slums and employment opportunities. If elected, I will solve these issues as they were not addressed because of the inefficiency of Zameer. 

How confident are you of winning the election?
In the last general election, I managed to get nearly 18,000 votes. This year, I am confident of winning as people now know the real colour of Zameer. This time, people are aware and will not succumb to money or muscle power.

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