In the state elections held in May 2018, the BJP polled 2 lakh+ votes less than the Congress and JD(S) combined in the 8 Assembly segments in the constituency.

Bengaluru Central Numbers from Assembly polls indicate Congress-JDS has an edge
news Lok Sabha 2019 Thursday, April 04, 2019 - 17:37

If the Assembly elections held in May 2018 in Karnataka were a bellwether of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the odds are in favour of the coalition in Bengaluru Central. This especially with a pre-poll arrangement in place between the ruling coalition partners in the state government.

The city of Bengaluru has been divided into three Lok Sabha seats – South, Central and North – since the delimitation process happened in 2008. All the three seats have been won by the BJP in 2014 while the Congress held neighbouring Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura and Kolar seats.

In Bengaluru Central, the sitting MP, PC Mohan, is seeking a hattrick after having won the seat since it went to polls for the first time in 2009. In 2014, with the Modi wave strongly behind him, he won by a wider margin of 1,30,000 votes as opposed to near-40,000 in 2009.

How people voted in Assembly polls

The constituency, rich in diversity both in terms of economic and demographic factors, is divided into eight Assembly segments. These eight segments cover the city centre such as MG Road and Majestic to residential areas like Indiranagar, Sarvagnanagar to the IT corridor in the south-eastern part of the city. Out of the eight, only Rajaji Nagar, CV Raman Nagar and Mahadevapura were won by the BJP. Even in these, it is only in Mahadevapura that the BJP had a greater vote share than the sum of the Congress and JD(S) votes. The other five Assembly segments – Sarvagnanagar, Shantinagar, Chamrajpet, Gandhi Nagar and Shivajinagar – are held by the Congress.

As for the demographics, the seat has a significant minority population – Muslims and Christians along with Jains and others. Apart from religious minorities, the constituency is also home to linguistic minorities comprising a significant Tamil and Telugu speaking population.

Adding up all the numbers in the eight seats, the Congress-JD(S) alliance seems to have an advantage of more than two lakh (2,06,543) votes.

Notable third player

While the Congress candidate Rizwan Arshad, who was fielded last time too, will be helped by the JD(S) support, popular multi-lingual actor Prakash Raj is a notable third entrant in the race. He is expected to split the votes, according to political observers.

It may be noted that even in 2014 there was an unusual third player at this seat, in the form of AAP’s V Balakrishnan, former Infosys CFO. He polled close to 40,000 votes.

However, what traction Prakash Raj can get in a place that has been relatively less receptive to film stars as politicians compared to its neighbouring states, remains to be seen.

Noted political analyst Sandeep Shastri is of the opinion that a combination of factors puts the alliance ahead of the BJP even though Prakash Raj could prove to be a thorn in the side of the Congress. This even though the electorate in the area vote keeping in mind the national scene.

Speaking to TNM, Sandeep said, “I would say, given their numbers and some semblance of unity, it will work to the alliance’s advantage. Also remember that the Member of Parliament for this constituency has already completed two terms.”

He added, “Prakash Raj will take away some of the Congress-JD(S) votes. Unlike Balakrishnan who as a candidate could have polled both votes from the Congress and BJP, Prakash Raj because of his anti-BJP stance will take away only the Congress votes. But unlike in Mandya where Sumalatha is considered to be a probable winner, Prakash Raj is not being seen as one. This would largely impact his chances.”

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