Bangalore: Saddled with perceptible anti- incumbency sentiments, the ruling BJP is expected to yield ground in Bangalore urban areas that account for a significant 28 seats in the May five Assembly elections.
In the 2008 elections, the party had bagged 17 of those seats under the leadership of B S Yeddyurappa and on the back of a "sympathy factor" after the JDS refused to hand over power to the party, reneging on its promise on the coalition.
This time, there are no such factors in its favour. Yeddyurappa formed his own party Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP) last year after walking out of BJP, and may dent the ruling party`s prospects in the city.
The Congress had bagged ten seats and the JDS of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda just one in the previous elections to the 224-member Assembly.
The crisis on the solid waste disposal front which lingered on for many weeks in parts of the city is still fresh on the minds of Bangaloreans, and the BJP which was at the helm of affairs in the Bangalore City Corporation had received flak over the inept handling of the issue.
The "face" of KJP in the city is undoubtedly the former Chief Minister`s protege Shobha Karandlaje, who is taking on "seasoned" Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar in Rajajinagar.
Shobha, who had served the BJP government as Energy Minister, as also Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister in the Yeddyurappa cabinet, had won from the neighbouring Yeshwantpur constituency in 2008. The segment is among those being keenly watched.
Vijayanagar and Govindrajnagar segments offer another
interesting scenario as it involves the father-son duo of realtor-politician M Krishnappa and Priya Krishna of the Congress seeking re-election.
Housing Minister V Somanna had won from Govindrajnagar in 2008 on Congress ticket but subsequently crossed over to BJP and quit the seat but in the bypoll lost to Priya Krishna.
This time, Somanna is pitted against Krishnappa in Vijayanagara which promises to be among the hotly contested seats in the State. Incidentally, 29-year-old Priya Krishna has declared assets of Rs 910.9 crore, highest by any candidate in this election.
It seems it would be an uphill task for the BJP to repeat its stellar poll performance of 2008 and it would certainly be hard-pressed as the Congress is determined to improve its tally and JDS appearing to be "resurgent" in some three-four constituencies, including Chamarajpet, where its MLA B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan is seeking re-election.
JDS is fancying its chances in particular in Yeshwantpura and Byatarayanapura segments.
Among the prominent candidates in the city is Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who holds the Home and Transport portfolios, seeking reelection from Padmanabhanagar.
While the overall voter turnout was 64.91 per cent in the 2008 elections, the average in the 28 segments of Bangalore was a low 47.3 per cent. The lowest was in Sarvajnanagar in the city at 35.40 per cent.
The Election Commission and a number of NGOs have made vigorous efforts in the recent weeks seeking to enlighten voters on the need to exercise their franchise.