Karnataka polls: BJP dumps non-performing MLA Limbavali, instead fields wife

After mass anger against three-time BJP MLA Aravinda Limbavali, the BJP has not fielded him again but has given the ticket to his wife Manjula

Mahadevapura Karnataka assembly election polls
A huge apartment complex lies half finished in Bellandur. There are no takers for property across a vast swathe of the city which was flooded last year

It may be India’s booming IT capital but just about everything appears to be wrong with many parts of Bengaluru, where the BJP has been forced to dump a non-performing MLA (Aravinda Limbavali from Mahadevapura) in an Assembly election it is desperate to win. Ironically, the party has fielded his wife in a move that has surprised many voters.

No one in the sprawling city, known as India’s Silicon Valley, has forgotten the terrible flooding that caused havoc in September 2022, the main reason being a near complete absence of infrastructure despite the unending urban growth.

The floods were such a nightmare that thousands left the worst affected areas for good. Prices of real estate across a vast swathe of the city have fallen steeply and there are no takers for property there.

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South-East Bengaluru is home to a major share of IT companies, as well as plush apartments, where a large percentage from the IT industry lives. The area falls in the sprawling Mahadevapura assembly constituency, where villages on the outskirts have made way for high-tech cities.

Terrible floods

Mahadevapura, Karnataka assembly polls electon
Bellandur Lake has now turned into a drainage channel for the city’s sewage water

Will flooding and lack of basic amenities be the deciding factors in the May 10 elections?

Besides Whitefield and Marathahalli, the area includes newly urbanized areas with poor infrastructure, such as Vartur and Bellandur. It also hosts major educational institutes, shopping malls and showrooms. The International Tech Park is located nearby.

At 5.72 lakh, the constituency has the second-largest number of voters among the 28 assembly constituencies of Bengaluru. The biggest is Krishnarajapura in the Karnataka capital.

The electorate includes 2,15,000 SC and ST voters, 95,000 OBCs, 94,000 Vokkaligas, 45,000 Muslims, and 30,000 others.

The people of the area face several problems. Traffic congestion is one. The work to connect the Metro rail to Whitefield has reached its final stage.

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Lack of adequate infrastructure, including sewers to drain out excess water, is certainly another.

IT industry

Chemical foam seen on Bellandur Lake as a result of the sewage water being dumped into it

In last year’s floods, water entered several IT companies, as well as apartment complexes. Many disgusted companies decided to shift out. Five per cent of the residents of apartments in the region moved out to other areas. The resale value of the real estate crashed.

Naturally, much of the ire was directed at public representatives, in particular, the now disgraced BJP MLA, Aravinda Limbavali, a former minister. He was blamed for poor governance. A key allegation was that the three-time MLA helped the real estate sector but did not bother about infrastructure.

There was also the Bellandur Lake, which was filled with the city’s sewage water and generated chemical fog and foam. Some incidents of the MLA’s arrogance turned many against him.

Limbavali has not been fielded from the constituency but his wife Manjula has been, raising several eyebrows.

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IT industry veteran TV Mohandas Pai had earlier criticised the Karnataka government for bad governance and high corruption, besides the lack of urban reforms that led to the floods.

Rajesh Gowda, an employee with Infosys and a resident of Jaya Shree Residence, told The Federal how he and his family were stranded for two weeks last year due to the floods. “My family and I cannot forget the challenges we faced. When I wanted to sell my flat, I could find no buyers,” he said.

IT professionals, including Ram Kumar Jha and Nivedita Charan, expressed similar opinions.

Ramakrishna Naidu, owner of Sri Sai Real Estate Agency in Bellandur, said the resale value of the apartments in the flood-hit areas, including Bellanduru, Whitefield, Outer Ring Road, Sarjapur Road, Yemaluru, and Marathahalli, has fallen. Owners are finding it difficult to sell thousands of sites in private layouts.

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Santosh Reddy, an office bearer of an apartment association in Yemalur, said as many as 500 houses were vacated by IT employees. Many have returned but worry about what will happen this year if heavy rains lash the city again.

Limbavali won thrice from Mahadevapura, a Scheduled Caste reserved seat. The Congress hopes that the 2022 floods may turn the tide against the BJP this time.