Bengaluru: Can JD(S) dent this BJP stronghold?

Bengaluru: The civic problems of the Basavanagudi assembly constituency have only multiplied over the years with solutions seeming out of reach, much to the dismay of the people. Ranging from drinking water shortage  to traffic snarls,  poor  BMTC service, to pothole-ridden roads,  footpaths encroached by street hawkers and poor streetlighting, the constituency has endless issues to contend with.

Located in South Bengaluru, bordering Jayanagar, it is one of the oldest localities of the city, with many businesses on its busy DVG road dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.  Its best known landmark, the Bull Temple, is hugely popular among the locals , as is Gandhi Bazaar, where you can chance on some of the best vegetables and fruits in town, besides flowers.

But while many of the people are extremely loyal to their long sown roots in the locality, they admit that living here is not exactly easy anymore with the population growing  and the civic amenities failing to catch up.  

"Drinking water supply is not regular in areas like Girinagar, Kathriguppe, Basavanagudi and others mainly because of their dense population," rues Mr Raghunatha, a resident of Hanumanth Nagar, adding, "People take housing loans, demolish their old homes and replace them with buildings of not less than four floors. Then how can the drinking water supply be enough for all? This is forcing many to depend on private water tankers."

He  regrets that officials often turn a blind eye to the construction of extra floors in violation of the building by-laws by these landowners. “Going by the  by-laws, commercial spaces need to reserve their basements for parking. But how many  follow this?” he demands. 

A flower vendor in Gandhi Bazaar, Shivanna, notes that although several years have passed since a section of its marketplace was vacated to accommodate a multi-level parking complex, there has been no progress on building it.

“As the government does not have  a proper plan to recognise the traders and issue them identity cards to carry out their business without harassment from the police, some traders are forced to encroach on roads and footpaths,” he claims.

The people are also unhappy with the door- to- door garbage collection. “While the BBMP asks us to segregate garbage at source, the pourakarmikas  mix it all up when they collect it,” laments Ms Padma, a resident of Girinagar.

And then there is the chaotic traffic. “The stretch from Muneshwara Block to Nagendra Block is chaotic. Driving on this stretch has become a nightmare during peak hours,” says Mr P.V. Vinay Kumar, also of Girinagar. With BMTC providing poor bus connectivity in the constituency, most people depend on their two-wheelers and cars to commute, according to him. Adding to the problem, areas like Srinagar, Hanumanthnagar and Kathriguppe have narrow roads that are now overburdened with traffic, he points out.

With a large population of Brahmins and Vokkaligas,the constituency has been a BJP stronghold for long. Its current MLA,  Ravi Subramanya of the saffron party has already served two terms in the legislature and is now seeking a third. While the Congress has hardly a presence here,  the JD(S) is hoping to appeal to the Vokkaligas by fielding Mr Bage Gowda, who belongs to the community these elections. 


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