Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru, with four Lok Sabha constituencies, is likely to be a win for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with Tejasvi Surya, P C Mohan, Shobha Karandlaje and C N Manjunath holding the fort. However, Congress too, has fielded worthy opponents and is actively campaigning, hoping to score a win, this time around.

Historically, the party has had a strong influence on the urban population in the IT capital. For instance, Congress last won in Bengaluru South constituency in 1989 when R Gundu Rao was the candidate. Since then, BJP’s Ananth Kumar consistently won until 2014, after which Tejasvi Surya has taken over.

Similarly, Congress last won in Bengaluru North in 1999, when C K Jaffer was the candidate. Post which, three BJP leaders- Sangliana, Chandre Gowda, Sadananda Gowda- have held the position.

For the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Bengaluru South constituency is held by BJP sitting MP Tejasvi Surya, who is seen as a up and coming youth leader and has a track record of victory in 2019. Congress has also fielded a relatively young Soumya Reddy, daughter of Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, to give a fair fight. She had lost the Jayanagara assembly seat in Bengaluru by a slim margin of 16 votes, a year ago.

In Bengaluru Central, largely a minority populated constituency, BJP MP P C Mohan has been able to remain undefeated for the past three terms. He is also confident of scoring a fourth win, as he has indicated in his recent campaign speeches. Congress, however, is fielding its sole minority candidate Mansoor Ali Khan, son of veteran Congress leader Rehman Khan, and is trying to bag the Ahinda vote bank.

Bengaluru Rural (Previously Kanakapura), constituency formed recently in 2008, has only had a history of either Janata Dal (Secular) or Congress holding power. However, an interesting battle awaits this time as BJP is backing Dr. C N Manjunath, former Director of Jayadeva Hospital in his electoral debut, and Congress banks on D K Suresh, brother of Deputy CM D K Shivakumar, the party’s troubleshooter. BJP’s first timer is being heavily endorsed by the Centre, as recently, Union Minister Amit Shah on his visit had started his campaigning from Manjunath’s constituency and backed him profusely.

Development under BJP

The Bengaluru North constituency has seen a rejig as BJP, after Sadananda Gowda’s retirement, is fielding Shoba Karandlaje. She had faced resistance to her renomination by her own partymen in her previous constituency Udupi-Chikmagalur. Congress on the other hand is fielding academician M V Rajeev Gowda.

Political Analyst Harish Ramaswamy notes that Bengaluru is of the opinion that it has seen more development under the BJP rule. Given it is the capital city, the exposure to BJPs central campaigning and messaging is high. The leaders of most of the constituencies, being eloquent and well communicative leaders, helps the case even further.

“Congress however, except during S M Krishna’s regime, has not channelled any major efforts for Bengaluru’s development either. Only now, it has rejuvenated the “Brand Bengaluru” conversation, with D K Shivakumar at the helm. Gaining ground in Bengaluru this time too will be difficult, as city dwellers do cast votes based on actions taken on civic and infrastructure issues, and the water crisis is a major issue currently.”