Can Munirathna Naidu beat incumbency?

Bengaluru: Located in the southwestern part of Bengaluru, off Mysore Road with Kengeri to its west and Nagarbhavi to its north, Rajarajeshwari Nagar with an eye-catching archway acting as a gateway to it, is only a decade- old. Carved out of the erstwhile Uttarahalli assembly constituency in 2008, it is today one of the four largest constituencies of the city with nine wards. 

Dominated by the Vokkaligas and Other Backward Castes, RR Nagar hasn’t proved to be loyal to any one party as yet. While it voted for the BJP in 2008 , the following election saw controversial Congress leader and film producer/contractor- turned politician, Munirathna Naidu win from the constituency. While he claims to have done his bit and more for R R Nagar , home to many educational institutions , businesses and commercial establishments, besides areas like the BHEL Layout and BEML Layout, the people of the locality have a long list of grouses.

“ R.R. Nagar may look posh to an outsider, but  many of its wards are still lacking in basic infrastructure and have poor roads  because of the low quality of work done in asphalting them. Water scarcity and garbage disposal are some of the other issues, which have not been addressed,” says Dr. Naveen Gowda, an R R Nagar resident. People of the area are also unhappy with the irregular collection of garbage. “A lot of money is being spent in Bengaluru on garbage disposal. But the irregular collection is very discouraging. Sometimes garbage is collected once in three days in our area. With no other alternative,  many of the locals dump garbage on vacant sites late in the evenings,” says Ms Sujatha of Yeshwanthpur ward.

 Safety is also a concern, complains Mr Srinivasamurthy of BEML Layout. “Several  paying guest accommodations have come up here and their owners don’t care to  strictly follow the guidelines of the police for screening those they take in.  And most of the interior areas lack streetlights. Action needs to be taken to address the encroachment issue as well before it is too late and innocent people begin to face the brunt of it,” says Mr Ashwath, an architect from R R Nagar. He  believes that priority needs to be given to  rejuvenation of lakes in the constituency too as the groundwater table has been depleting at an alarming rate. While Mr Munirathna has his share of critics, he doesn’t seem to have much of a challenge on his hands these elections as neither the BJP nor the JD(S) have fielded  strong candidates against him. Although there was talk of the JD(S) fielding  Prajwal Revanna, son of senior leader, H D Revanna from the constituency, nothing came of it. Some allege he was deliberately dropped as Mr Muniratna happens to be producing a film starring JD(S) state chief, H D Kumaraswamy’s son. On the face of it then,  it does seem that Mr Muniratna, despite the string of controversies dogging him –  over fake bills and even sexual assault – could return for another term. 

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