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Bengaluru will once again remain BJP’s fort, here is why

Riding on the PM Modi wave, and post the Pulwama attack, the Bengaluru BJP unit may find itself lucky in 2019 too keeping in mind public sentiment. The coalition's struggle to find a candidate is evidence that the Modi factor has instilled fear among the opposition. While Bengaluru South and Central candidate for the Congress was announced on March 24, the Bengaluru North Lok Sabha candidate was decided late night on Monday (March 25).

Bengaluru BJP fort Bengaluru Lok Sabha constituency
Bengaluru, First Published Mar 26, 2019, 7:38 PM IST

Bengaluru: The BJP Bengaluru unit seems to be on the front foot in sight of the uncertain coalition’s struggle in finalising the candidate for Bengaluru South, North and Central. The coalition’s indecision on fielding candidates already puts them far behind in the race.

While the BJP was very clear to field sitting MP PC Mohan from Bengaluru Central and DV Sadananda Gowda from Bengaluru North, the only uncertainty with the candidate for the Bengaluru South seat was because of the demise of HN Ananth Kumar. BJP chose youngster Tejasvi Surya, an RSS sympathiser to steer the ship.   

On the other hand, Congress struggled to field a candidate against Sadananda Gowda in Bengaluru North and only after some last-minute-late-night drama on Monday, did the party finally agree on minister Krishna Byre Gowda to fight against Sadananda Gowda, making it a Gowda versus Gowda battle in Bengaluru North.

In Bengaluru Central, Rizwan Arshad had to struggle to get a ticket as senior leader Roshan Baig and Saleem Ahmed were pressurising the Congress high command to give them a ticket as Arshad was defeated in 2014. In Bengaluru South, the Congress fielded BK Hariprasad as a candidate, a man who had laid the groundwork in Bengaluru Central. With this move, the Congress had created two scapegoats, Hariprasad and Byre Gowda.

Sources say that Byre Gowda was not ready to contest, as a loss would leave an indelible mark on his image. Hariprasad has been left shocked after he was made candidate of Bengaluru South, which he did not want to opt for, as he has already tasted defeat once. Congress seems to have lost its base three decades ago. Moreover, to fight the election against the BJP in Bengaluru South is widely considered suicide.

However, Congress denies all these factors that would damage their prospects and said that their candidates are better. Congress spokesperson Kengal Shreepada Renu says," It's the other way around, BJP has cheated HN Ananth Kumar. Modi is very clear, he does not want any person who is close to senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani and denied the ticket to Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, whom we also feel deserves some respect. Hariprasad is a better candidate as he wants to implement world-class projects in Bengaluru South. In Bengaluru North, Krishna Byre Gowda is not scared, but he did not want to get into national politics and wished to continue his service in the State. He has assured that all the public sectors units like HAL, BEML and others do not face any problem and wants to represent them. In the case of Bengaluru Central, Rizwan Arshad was chosen as the high command had reposed faith in him. PC Mohan has not said anything about the Cauvery and Mahadayi protest or spoken about unemployment in Parliament. To speak up and address these issues, is the reason why the party decided give the ticket to Arshad".   

Thanking the Congress for being in disarray until the last minute to field candidates, the BJP in its observation stated the Congress has pitted a dubious leader, Hariprasad, in Bengaluru South. Questioning his credibility, the BJP said that he is a tested failed leader as he has not won a single election and has gained entry into politics through Rajya Sabha.

Not favouring Hariprasad is also the fact that he does not belong to Bengaluru and has no base. BJP's young Tejasvi Surya is a Bengaluru resident and attracts youths, and many believe that he will emerge a giant slayer. In the case of Krishna Byre Gowda, the previous loss in Bengaluru South does not help his case. Sitting MP PC Mohan too has quite a large fanbase in his constituency. "The value of the BJP is the same in Coastal Karnataka, as it is in Bengaluru. BJP will retain its 3 Lok Sabha seats of Bengaluru." said Prakash, BJP Spokesperson. 

The BJP leaders collectively feel that Modi’s response to Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack is the primary reason that voters are bent towards the BJP.

Numbers favour BJP

In 2014, BJP candidate HN Ananth Kumar won with 6,33, 816 votes against Congress stalwart and IT giant Nandan Nilekani who secured 4,05,241 votes. The margin was 2,28,575 votes.

In Bengaluru Central, PC Mohan obtained 5,55,130 votes against Rizwan Arshad who secured 4,19,630 votes. The margin was 1,37,500 votes.

In Bengaluru North, BJP candidate DV Sadananda Gowda secured 7,18,326 votes. His rival from Congress C Narayanswamy got 4,88,562 votes. The margin was 2,29,764 votes.

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