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During RR Nagar bypoll, real issues take backseat

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The nice corridor that passes through D’Souza Nagar of Rajarajeshwarai Nagar Assembly constituency is of international standard with almost no potholes. But right under the stretch is a road filled with potholes that is a nightmare for motorists. Such extremes are common in RR Nagar, which is facing the bypoll on November 3.

At one end, you have posh apartments, high-end residential localities, IT parks and many prestigious educational institutions, but at the other end are slums, badly maintained stretches and garbage piles all over. But these are not the issues that have taken the centre stage this election.

R B Bhadrinath, president, RR Nagar Tax Payers’ Association, said that the constituency, one of the biggest in Bengaluru, has not seen any development.

“No lakes have been developed, no new development works taken up, no roads repaired and no parks improved. Though the state government releases crores of rupees to this constituency regularly, hardly any development is seen,” he said. “Irrespective of the party they belong to, none of the candidates have raised these issues. They only talk about targeting voters based on their caste or throw mud at each other,” he lamented.

Slum-dwellers feel that BJP candidate Muniratna is more accessible. Munivenkatappa, a building contractor at Bangarappa Gudde slum who voted for Munirathna in 2018, said he will vote for him again. But what about Munirathna switching from Congress to BJP? “That does not make any difference. Yes, we have an issue of drains overflowing during monsoon, but Munirathna has dug a borewell for us,’’ he said.

Srinivasa Gowda, a plumber at Kariyappa Layout, said a known candidate is better than a new face. “We are hardcore Congress followers, but we will vote for Muniratna. H Kusuma (Congress candidate) is a new person here, and we don’t accept her,” he said.

While Muniratna seems to have an edge, Kusuma is giving him a tough competition in the Vokkaliga-dominated constituency. Balaraj, a gardener at Javaregowda Nagar, said, “We know Kusuma has a strong backing of DK Shivakumar (KPCC president) who has a major influence in RR Nagar. Munirathna left Congress for the sake of power and we will not vote for him,’’ he said.

RR Nagar was merged into BBMP in 2007 and the constituency spreads across 30 sqkm. It has over 4.5 lakh voters of whom over one lakh are Vokkaligas. It is a fight for prestige between Muniratna and Shivakumar and his brother D K Suresh, who is an MP from Bengaluru Rural.

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