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Will Congress’ Mansoor Ali Khan succeed in breaching BJP fortress in Bengaluru Central LS seat?

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Shillong, April 18: Mansoor Ali Khan, son of former Union Minister K. Rahman Khan and the sole Muslim candidate not only from the Congress but from any major party in Karnataka in the coming Lok Sabha polls, has been fielded from Bangalore Central parliamentary constituency where he faces the challenging task of wresting the seat regarded as a BJP stronghold.

While sitting BJP member P.C. Mohan has won the seat in the last three elections, the Congress, which won five out of eight Assembly constituencies that comprise the parliamentary constituency in the 2023 elections, is hopeful this time.

Making it more of a prestige issue is the fact that out of the five seats it holds are those won by Power Minister K.J. George, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, and Housing and Wakf Minister Zameer Ahmad Khan.

The Congress has tasked the ministers to ensure the victory of Mansoor Ali Khan but infighting hampered his campaign in the initial stages, including the absence of top leaders of the Congress at the time of filing of nomination.

Congress MLA from Shanthinagar Assembly constituency N.A. Haris was lobbying for the ticket for the seat for his son Mohammed Nalpad while Political Secretary to the Chief Minister Naseer Ahmed was also an aspirant, and both remained aloof from the campaign earlier.

Apart from them, the three ministers also remained absent during the nomination, but cite the change of dates for filing of nomination as the reason.

Sources within Congress say that the leaders are not happy with the choice of the candidate.

However, Mansoor Ali Khan is well educated and the trustee of KK Educational and Charitable Trust, established by his father, which has made significant contributions in the field of education.

Taking up intensified campaigning in the constituency, he has been claiming that there has been no development there for 15 years now.

On the other hand, BJP candidate P.C. Mohan, seeking his fourth consecutive term, is confident of retaining the seat due to his people connection, simple nature, and availability to the public.

Mohan had defeated Congress MLA Rizwan Arshad by 70,968 votes in the 2019 polls and by 1.37 lakh votes in 2014. However, in 2009, he won against Congress’ H.T. Sangliana by around 35,000 votes. He was elected from Bengaluru’s Chickpet Assembly constituency twice – in 1999 and 2004.

The BJP cadres are looking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bengaluru on April 20 and are confident that this will give them a boost. The BJP, which holds the C.V. Ramannagar, Rajajinagar, and Mahadevapura assembly segments, is also hopeful that the alliance with the JD-S will fetch them more votes. (IANS)

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