Rajarajeshwari Nagar bypolls: Info on candidates, constituency and more

BJP is fielding ex-Congress-MLA Munirathna N in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly bypolls on November 3. Munirathna will face off against Congress's Kusuma and JD(S)'s Krishnamurthy.

On November 3, Rajarajeshwari Nagar assembly constituency will go into bypolls. The bypoll was necessitated by incumbent MLA Munirathna N’s disqualification, for violating the anti-defection law. Munirathna was elected from the Congress in 2018, but defected to the BJP in mid-2019. He’s contesting as the BJP candidate this time. The election results will be announced on November 10.

The constituency is made up of nine wards – Jalahalli, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Jnana Bharati, Kottegepalya, Laggere, HMT ward, Lakshmidevi nagar, JP Park and Yeshwanthpura. RR Nagar is one of the four largest assembly sections in Bengaluru, with 4.6 lakh voters this by-election. The constituency is also a hub of educational institutions. 

With the constituency having around one lakh Vokkaliga voters, caste has been a factor in political parties’ selection of candidates as well as campaigning. However, with RR Nagar suffering from typical developmental and civic issues, it remains to be seen if voters will go by candidates’ merit or be swayed by caste equations. Poor solid waste management, lack of lake development are among the major issues in the constituency. Poor waste management has citizens worried about groundwater pollution and health problems too.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad has said that in lieu of the pandemic, physically challenged persons and senior citizens do not have to go to polling booths to vote. He said that a team of polling officers will go door-to-door in the RR Nagar constituency, asking them to vote through a secret ballot in a sealed envelope. 

Know your candidates

According to the Election Commission of India website, 27 candidate nominations were received, of which three were rejected and four withdrawn. A total of 16 candidates are contesting the election. The last date for filing nominations was October 16.

Following are the candidates.

Kusuma H

Kusuma H of INC, campaigning in the constituency
PARTY AFFILIATIONIndian National Congress
PROFESSIONAssistant Professor 
FAMILYNot applicable
CRIMINAL CASESNo pending cases
NET WORTHTotal assets – Rs 2.5 cr (Movable assets – Rs 1.13 cr; Immovable assets – Rs 1.37 cr)
Liabilities – Rs 20.48 lakh
SOCIAL MEDIAInstagram, Twitter
Find more details in the affidavit filed with Election Commission

The Congress has fielded Kusuma H, wife of deceased IAS officer D K Ravi. Ravi, who championed anti-corruption crusades, had died by suicide in 2015. Kusuma joined the Congress party early this month.

She has a Masters in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She’s currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science Engineering at Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering in Bengaluru. 

Munirathna N

Munirathna N
PARTY AFFILIATIONBharatiya Janata Party
CRIMINAL CASESFive pending cases (Details in affidavit)
NET WORTHTotal assets – Rs 89.13 cr (Movable assets – Rs 26.52 cr; Immovable assets – Rs 62.61 cr)
Liabilities- Rs 4.64 cr 
SOCIAL MEDIAFacebook and Twitter 
More details in affidavit

Munirathna, film-producer-turned -politician, was one of the 17 rebel MLAs who resigned and walked over to BJP last year, which led to the crumbling of the fragile Congress- JD(S) coalition government. He had been elected from RR Nagar constituency as a Congress MLA twice – in 2013 and in 2018. As MLA from 2013 to 2018, Munirathna had served as a member of the Karnataka legislative assembly’s Committee on Papers laid on the Table as well as the Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions.

Munirathna had begun his political career as a corporator from Yeshwanthpur constituency. He was previously a private contractor, and had been named in the Lokayukta report of 2010 as being responsible for the death of 17-year-old Sanjana Singh. Sanjana had died when the wall of the Government Veterinary Hospital – which Munirathna, as BBMP contractor, had built – collapsed on her. Munirathna’s name has also featured in the fake bill scam unearthed by Technical Vigilance Cell of BBMP.

  • Read about Munirathna’s track record as an MLA in 2013-2018 here.
  • More details here

Krishnamurthy V

Krishnamurthy V
PROFESSIONSocial Worker, Agriculturist 
FAMILYSpouse, two dependents 
CRIMINAL CASESNo pending cases 
NET WORTHTotal assets – Rs 1.7 cr (Movable assets – Rs 31.57 lakh; Immovable assets – Rs 1.67 cr)
Liabilities – Nil
SOCIAL MEDIA Instagram, Twitter 
More details in affidavit

JD(S) has fielded Krishnamurthy V, a leader from the Jnanabharathi ward. Calling him a loyal party worker, JD(S) has selected Krishnamurthy against its city unit chief R Prakash and RR Nagar President Bettaswamy Gowda. In a recent interview with Deccan Herald, the 41-year-old said he would focus on building schools and improving government hospitals, if elected. 

Other candidates 

Abhimaani Narendra Jai Vijaya Bharati Party Bat
Aravind B KKarnataka Rashtra SamithiWhistle
H M Babu (Kishore Gowda)Karunaadu Party Batsman
Sathish Reddy SAll India Janaraksha Party Grapes
Kiran B R Independent Ganna Kisan
R ChandrashekarIndependent Sewing machine 
K T PrakashIndependent Diamond
D K Tulasappa Independent Pressure cooker 
Naveen Kumar SIndependent Computer 
M Mahesh Gowda Independent Man blowing Turha 
C B K RamaIndependent Coconut farm 
Siddappa G SIndependent Auto-rickshaw 
Syed Asif Bukhari Independent Calculator 

Election results 2018 

In the 2018 election, the constituency had witnessed a voter turnout of just 53.6%. Congress candidate Munirathna N won with over 42% of the vote share. BJP candidate Muniraju Gowda came second with around 32% of the vote share, and JD(S) came third.

Muniratna Indian National Congress 1,08,06442.14%
Muniraju Gowda BJP82,57232.20%
G H Ramachandra JD(S)60,36023.54%

Munirathna’s 2018 vote share was an improvement over that in the 2013 election. In 2013, he had won around 37% of the vote share. Following are the 2013 results.

Muniratna Indian National Congress 71,06437.4%
K L R ThimmananjaiahJD(S)52,25127.5%
M Srinivas BJP50,72626.7%

[Corrigendum: This article had incorrectly mentioned that BJP candidate Munirathna N belongs to the Vokkaliga caste. This has been corrected. We apologise for the error.]

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