Gandhinagar turns into political battleground

The vacant BBMP corporator post after Natraj was slain, has led all political parties to push their best candidate forward to try and take control of the moneymaker's paradise

With less than five months to go for the by-election at Gandhinagar, all political parties have started announcing their probable candidates for the coveted position, which is known for being highly profitable.

While JD(S) announced that it will be fielding actor Bullet Prakash, Congress has decided to go with slain corporator Natraj's wife Devika for the civic byelection

While Congress has managed to win for three consecutive years - they have now decided to go with slain corporator S Natraj's wife Devika for the post.

Their prime competitors and rivals, the JD(S) has meanwhile announced that it will be fielding actor Bullet Prakash for the post, while BJP is still juggling between two names from the same ward Ramchandrappa, who was earlier defeated, and V Nagraj (AKA Bomb Naga).

The constituency has witnessed several controversial murders in the past and the brutal slaying of Natraj in broad daylight threw the gates open for rowdy elements to take a dig at his seat. Gandhinagar constituency, which houses close to seven slums, has always been under strict police vigil.

The last BBMP election however, proved to be a huge risk for the Congress as Nagraj was making his entry into
politics through this election. However, many sections have attributed his victory directly to his closeness to local MLA, Dinesh Gundu Rao.

Why this ward?
The city's biggest black market exists in and around Gandhinagar and the hafta the ruling corporator and other leaders in the area generate, runs into crores each month. Further, the area is a sensitive communal zone and has a varied mix of different communities.

Clashes of ideals have been witnessed here over the years and interestingly, more than managing civic problems, the elected corporator has a huge responsibility of maintaining peace and harmony in the area.

The city's most powerful cop, Lokeshwar, who battles allegations of having strong political connections with former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and his family, is also stationed at the Upparapet police station.

Waiting for notification
Congress is pulling in Natraj's wife - Devika - and smartly playing the emotional card. Sources close to the party reveal that since she is a Tamilian, garnering votes from the area would be simpler.

Gundu Rao, hinting at the same, said, "We do not know what to do yet. Natraj had covered all the Tamil areas here and although it is difficult for a Tamilian to win from this ward, he managed to do it. We may think of fielding his wife for the same ward."

While JD(S) declared their candidate Bullet Prakash openly, BJP remained tightlipped about their choice. A source within the party revealed that, the party top bosses in the city were approached by V Nagraj AKA Bomb Naga, along with his patron MP PC Mohan for the seat.

City BJP spokesperson V Prakash, who earlier contested from Dattatraya Temple ward, has decided not to contest this time. He however said that the party may field Ramchandrappa, who was defeated from the same ward in the previous elections.

"I am not the aspirant this time, but the party may go with Ramchandrappa. We are waiting for notification," he said Prakash.

Candidate profiles
Congress: Devika Natraj
She is considered to b close to Dinesh Gundu Rao's family and her father-in-law was a fruit merchant. Popular belief is that former CM Gundu Rao used to visit their shop with his family and their friendship has grown over the years.
JD(S): Bullet Prakash
Actor and comedian from Sandalwood industry
BJP: Ramchandrappa
He Was defeated in same ward last year
BJP: V Nagraj
Contested as an independent candidate from Gandhi Nagar ward last election and lost. He has criminal cases pending against him.

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