Bangalore Central is a relatively newly formed constituency. It first voted as a separate constituency 10 years ago in 2009. The constituency was created by taking parts of Bengaluru North and Bengaluru South.
All of those ten years, it has been represented by the BJP's PC Mohan - who is contesting again this year. This candidate cites the contributions of Prime Minister Modi as the main plank of his campaign.
When NDTV spoke to him on the campaign trail, he said, "All our karyakartas are very enthusiastic. Last time in 2014 we went with the Congress UPA government's failures. Previous 10 years they had ruled the country and they had ruined also. Coal scam, 2G scam, Adarsh scam, Commonwealth Games. In 2014, people gave a majority to Narendra Modi. In the last five years Modiji has done very good work - what has not happened in the last 70 years he has done in five years. People are very enthusiastic to re-elect Narendra Modiji."
When it came to the contributions he believed he had made to the area, Mr Mohan said, "As a Parliament member for the last 10 years, especially these 5 years, I brought lots of funds, especially the suburban rail which was pending for almost 30-35 years and was a dream or Bangaloreans. I fought inside and outside of Parliament and I got it. In the last budget, 17000 crores were kept and people are very happy with it. Second thing, the defence land that was to be handed over to BBMP and state government that was pending for almost 20 years - that also got cleared last month. I thank Narendra Modiji and Nirmala Sitharamanji."
The lakes of Bengaluru Central have been in the news for their pollution, but the lawmaker said, "I also got funds for lake development. Earlier it was not there in urban development. In Modiji's government, state has got 2450 crores for lake regeneration. I thank Narendra Modiji. Whatever we put in manifesto, 98% we have cleared. We are going with Narendra Modiji achievement and my contribution to Bangalore."
The Congress is fielding youth leader, Rizwan Arshad. He is supported by the Janata Dal Secular as well - as the two parties form the ruling coalition in Karnataka and are contesting the Lok Sabha elections together. Rizwan Arshad hopes to dislodge the BJP which will be a challenge - all three Bengaluru city seats are currently held by the BJP.
Rizwan Arshad told NDTV, "Bengaluru Central is a prestigious constituency representing an international and dynamic city like Bangalore. Issues are plenty - traffic, pollution, ground water depletion. Infrastructural issues are there. Various agencies have to come up to the expectations of the people of Bangalore. For that you need a very active MP who can raise these issues in Parliament. Who can deal with state government and coordinate the various issues of Bangalore city... If I get a chance - and I am confident the people will bless me - I will be the most active MP and meet the expectations of the people."
He was critical about the contribution of the sitting MP - and felt his own youth was an advantage.
"Our main opponent is the BJP. People say his performance has not been up to the mark. He has been missing in the constituency. He has not raised issues in Parliament. I would like to assure people I will raise issues - I will work for them... The mood of the people is for change... They know I am a youngster and I am active. I am confident that people will bless me," he said.
It isn't a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress. Independent candidate, actor Prakash Raj is determined to make waves here. And he does believe he stands a good chance against the two national parties that he says have failed to address the needs of Bengaluru Central.
He said, "The last ten years we see a decade that they sit at home when they win the election... So as I walk down, I tell them this is not time to blame anyone. We need to blame ourselves because all non-governance or corruption, the root is our electoral process. And as I talk about the issues which are really haunting the city and they realise, yes we are also responsible for electing wrong people and the issues are growing. And I see overwhelming response, the see hope, they are sure. I think Karnataka, India is ready for alternative politics...."
The actor does believe his fame is an advantage. He said, "There are people who don't know PC Mohan. There are people in this constituency who don't know Rizwan. I don't think there is anyone who don't know who is Prakash Raj. It is not just because I am an actor. They know me as a writer. They see a personality. They have seen me voicing for the last two and a half years. Thanks to the communal forces. And they know what I stand for. They know that I don't mince words. They know I am very straight and I am also presenting them the vision and also discussing with them the reasons why we are here today."
The BJP and Congress candidates, in turn, dismiss Prakash Raj as a serious threat and say their real challenge is form each other.
Bengaluru Central votes on April 18th. Will it stay with the BJP - go to the Congress - or will an independent represent the seat in Parliament. Certainly, this urban seat is one of the interesting ones to watch in Elections 2019.
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