With 28 out of 224 seats, Karnataka’s capital city may not make or break this election, but its infrastructure and other woes could make it difficult for the incumbent Congress government to convince voters that enough has been done.
That’s according to business leaders, activists and citizens of Bengaluru.
Karnataka – often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India – accounts for 60 percent of the state’s gross domestic product and 60 percent of its taxes, but “politically, Bengaluru has never mattered” to successive state governments, chief of Bengaluru-based Biocon, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, told BloombergQuint.
Also Read: In Charts: Karnataka’s Economy Vs Peers
The Key Issues
Bengaluru has had to contend with issues like traffic congestion, waste management, polluted lakes, poor mobility and shrinking water levels. The city was on the list of the top 10 metros worldwide that are fast moving towards ‘Day Zero’ — when taps start running dry, according to a report by the Centre for Science and Environment.
As many as 262 water bodies existed in the city till 1960s, rapid urbanisation has brought down their number to about 80, of which only 34 are recognised as live lakes, according to state government data.
“The city is expanding too fast without sufficient planning and infrastructure,” Leo Saldana, founder of Environment Support Group said. And the lack of basic civic amenities has led to discernible angst amongst voters, Shaw added.
Three Prominent Parties
Karnataka is dominated by three major political parties - the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular).
Revathy Ashok, CEO of Bangalore Political Action Party called BJP’s ruling time as a huge wasted opportunity, dominated by corruption and scam, while JD(S) lacks second line leadership.
How Has The Incumbent Congress Fared?
Most Bengalureans agree that the Congress, which wrested power from the BJP in 2013, has been able to keep communalism at bay. “Congress came at a time when there were attacks on women and a lot of aggression towards minorities. The Congress has been able to calm it [the situation] down,” Saldana said.