As the 2023 State Assembly elections threw up some big upsets and victories, capital city Bengaluru failed to throw up any major surprises. Continuing its tradition of re-voting incumbents, the city voted back to power a majority of the candidates across the 28 assembly constituencies.
In Bengaluru, BJP won 16 constituencies, while the Congress won 12 constituencies.
The regional party JD(S) was wiped out in Bengaluru after it lost its only seat in Dasarahalli, which was represented by R. Manjunatha. He lost to S. Muniraju of the BJP, who had earlier won from the constituency in 2008 and 2013.
Among those who maintained a winning track record - some from before delimitation too - is senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy, who won from BTM Layout again. He now has eight record wins - he has been undefeated since 1989 from Jayanagar and BTM Layout.
Congress leader K.J. George, who has five victories to his credit from Bharathinagar and Sarvagnanagar, won for the sixth time from Sarvagnanagar. Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao won for the sixth time, even though with a narrow margin, while Byatarayanapura MLA Krishna Byre Gowda too won for the sixth time, and from the same constituency since 2008.
From the BJP, Rajajinagar MLA S. Suresh Kumar too has five wins to his credit, before registering his sixth this year though off to a shaky start during the counting. S. Raghu registered his fifth win as a city MLA, four times from CV Raman Nagar and once before from Shantinagar.
Chamarajpet MLA B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan also registered his fifth victory, successfully fending off a new challenger - former top cop Bhaskar Rao from the BJP by 53,953 votes.
Mr. Raghu said that though pained by the overall results, he was proud of a fifth win as it does not come easy. Mr. George and Mr. Raghu also credited their party workers and supporters and voters for their victory.
The big indirect upset among the lot is for V. Somanna, who had fought on ticket from multiple parties and on his own and won five times, the last time from Govindaraj Nagar. In this election, he was part of the big gamble that the BJP took along with another senior leader R. Ashoka by pitching them against the Congress’s Siddaramaiah in Varuna and D.K. Shivakumar in Kanakapura, respectively. The gamble failed to pay off and Mr. Somanna ended up losing both seats from where he was contesting, the other one being Chamarajanagar.
Rain damage, COVID-19 did not impact results
As has been the case, neither the COVID-19 crisis, nor flooding during heavy rains in 2022 and potholes, appear to have had an impact on the election results. In fact, the flooding, which majorly affected areas in two constituencies - K.R. Puram and Mahadevapura - have re-elected Byrathi Basavaraj in the former, and elected S. Manjula from the latter. Incidentally, she is the wife of incumbent MLA Arvind Limbavali, who won thrice but was denied ticket this time.
Citizen activist Srinivas Alavilli said anyone who follows Bengaluru politics will not be surprised by the results. “Most of our city MLAs made winning a habit by building trust among voters by addressing civic matters and creating loyal vote banks that deliver beyond party affiliation. Unfortunately, our city MLAs barely used their legislative powers to work as a team to bring systemic reforms to the city in terms of planning, coordination, and governance,” he said.
“They have seen the city grow during their tenures, but did not do enough to protect our green cover, create affordable housing, or improve public education. I hope in the next five years, we will see the 28 MLAs work together on a mission mode as elected representatives of this great city to make it better for everyone regardless of socio-economic background,” he said.