Basavanagudi is an important constituency in South Bangalore from where the sitting BJP MLA Mr Ravi Subramanyam is contesting. There are 17 other contestants including a strong candidate from Congress in Mr B.K.Chandrashekar. KJP has put up a well known music director Mr Ravi Kiran as its candidate while JDS is also making a  bid through Mr Bage Gowda.

In the 2008 elections, the constituency saw only 42% voting . Out of the 96336 votes polled, Mr Ravi Subramanyam of BJP polled 50294 votes and the Congress 37094. Between the two they had cornered 92% of the votes. Others were simply irrelevant. The winning margin was about 13200 votes.

In the current year, the general expectation is that BJP will lose some votes while Congress should gain some votes. JDS should also do better than the last time.

This year the traditional BJP voters are angry with BJP as a party. The Corruption charges on Mr Yeddyurappa, the prolonged reluctance of the party to take action against him and his followers, the unfair removal of Mr Sadananda Gowda and playing the Lingayat card, all have caused disillusionment in the electorate. By announcing that Mr Jagadish Shettar is the CM candidate when the possibility of victory is slim, BJP has left little room for changing the anti-BJP mood of the electorate. Some BJP leaders such as Uma Bharati are making a claim that Yeddyurappa may be invited back after the election makes matters worse.

In view of the above mismanagement of BJP,  it is very difficult to expect BJP to retain this seat despite Mr Ravi Subramanya being considered a decent candidate.

Congress should then have an easy walkover particularly since their candidate is also a person without much controversies.

However, since Corruption is the other name for Congress, one has to wait and see if the educated section of the society extend their support to the Congress candidate.

If “Corruption” is considered as an important concern of the electorate, it is difficult for the people to forget that the king of king of corruption is the Congress. Also the electorate is aware of the leadership strife in Congress and none of the projected CM candidates of Congress inspire confidence in the electorate.

An unknown parameter that can influence the election could be the large number of new voters who are eligible to vote both because of new enumerations and because the vote percentage last time was very low.

Under these circumstances,the spirited campaign put up by Mrs Shantala Damle of Loksatta Party representing the “Opposite side of Corruption” makes things interesting.

If the electorate decide to register their “Voice of Protest” against corruption, then such voice would gravitate towards  Mrs Shantala Damle since she represents the only credible hope against corruption amongst the available choices. She is also the only lady candidate in fray and may also strike a special chord with the women voters.

It is not easy for a new entrant to break a citadel occupied by  Congress and BJP.  However,  both the  candidates of BJP and Congress, though are intrinsically acceptable in their personal capacity, are weighed down heavily by the images  their respective parties represent.

If the popularity of Aam Aadmi party in Delhi  is an indication, and presence of 18 candidates can introduce some fragmentation of votes, surprises can happen. We have  to therefore keep our fingers crossed until the final results come out.

Vijayashankar as a voter of Karnataka

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