Bangalore: Three new faces, including high-profile Aam Aadmi Party candidate and former Infosys Board member V Balakrishnan, are slugging it out in Bangalore central Lok Sabha constituency against incumbent PC Mohan of BJP.
Minorities hold considerable sway and that could tilt the scales in the poll outcome of Bangalore central, a constituency with a cosmopolitan character.
Carved out of Bangalore North and South Lok Sabha seats in the 2009 polls, the constituency has eight Assembly segments with a mixture of upper and middle class voters.
While BJP has retained Mohan, Congress has fielded its youth wing Chief Rizwan Arshad who is making his electoral debut after the party overruled the claim of former railway minister CK Jaffar Sharief, a seven-time MP.
Arshad is said to have been handpicked by Rahul Gandhi and a miffed Sharief has announced his resignation from Congress, cutting his more than six-decade long association with it.
Sharief`s exit is among the imponderables that could impact the prospects of the Congress candidate.
Balakrishnan`s entry has spiced up the scene, as he gets the taste of the rough and tumble of politics in the electoral battleground.
The other debutant is Nandini Alva, danseuse and wife of late former state minister Jeevraj Alva, who has jumped into the fray from the JDS. Alva is also the mother-in-law of Hindi actor Vivek Oberoi.
50-year old Mohan made his parliamentary debut to the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009 after being an MLA from Chickpet constituency for two consecutive terms in 1999 and 2004.
Compared to Mohan, all his opponents from the other three parties are having first brush with electoral politics.35-year-old Arshad is, however, relatively close to electoral politics compared to the other two, due to his association with Youth Congress.
With a Masters in Philosophy, Arshad has served in various positions of Youth Congress including National Secretary of Indian Youth Congress. He can bank on the support of three key ministers of Siddaramaiah government like Roshan Baig, KJ George and Dinesh Gundurao, who are from Bangalore central.
With Balakrishnan, Bala as he is popularly known, entering poll fray, Bangalore is witnessing two top ex-Infocians taking the plunge into electoral fray from the IT capital, other being Infosys co-founder and UIDAI chief Nandan Nilekani from Bangalore South constituency on a Congress ticket.
Balakrishnan quit Infosys on December 31 and joined AAP the next day. He had joined Infosys in 1991 and later became its Chief Financial Officer and was also said to be a top contender for the post of Chief Executive Officer when he quit.
He has declared assets worth Rs 190 crore, making him one of the richest candidates. Nilekani has declared assets worth Rs 7,700 crore.
Balakrishnan is hoping that people`s disenchantment with two principal players, Congress and BJP, would make them look towards AAP.
In his campaign, he employs traditional style like door-to-door canvassing while his supporters are also resorting to flash mobs-- a group of people who suddenly emerge in a public place and breaks out in dance or engage in some different activity for the purposes of entertainment or satire.
Mohan is banking on "Modi magic" to retain his seat.