A senior executive working in a leading IT company, venturing out to vote in South Bengaluru's Padmanabhanagar assembly constituency, told Business Today this morning, "People seem quite keen to vote this time. Early in the morning itself in my apartment complex, people were asking if I had cast my vote or not." This on a weekend in the city of nerds is a welcome development, say corporate leaders based out of Bengaluru and Mysuru. "There were long queues starting at 7 am when I went to cast my vote. Last time there was nobody. This time, there were already 20 people," says HealthCare Global chairman & CEO Dr B S Ajaikumar. This, he says, means "the educated class has woken up and wants to be heard." Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the chairperson and managing director of Biocon, India's leading biopharmaceutical company, says, "I am glad that there is at last a greater awareness about the importance of voting. This is good for democracy and good for Bengaluru. MLAs will have to take their duties seriously as they will be held accountable henceforth." While Business Today has no proof of this, but apparently many residential colonies in Bengaluru have decided to vote in blocks for a preferred MLA so that their problems are taken seriously. Part of the reason for the interest in voting this time is the active involvement of Bengaluru's citizen bodies and the messages over radio and on the internet.
All the three major parties - Congress, BJP and JD(S) - have a lot at stake. While the Congress is busy reaching out to the poor, citizens in the India's Silicon Valley feel the other parties - BJP and JD (S) also have not left any stone unturned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent visit to London did not want to lose any opportunity to reach out to the Lingayat vote base. He garlanded the portrait of Basaveshwara or Basava, the 12th century philosopher, statesman and poet. That apart, one voter reminded us, "he held 17 shows this time, more than the 12 odd planned originally apart from the active participation by Amit Shah this time."
However, Bengaluru's 11 million population is not really a reflection of how Karnataka, as a whole, will vote, considering that the city represents only 27 of the 227 constituencies. An IIM Bangalore professor, who went out to vote early in the morning said he did see a queue, but not a very long one. One may still have to wait till the end of the day to see if the actual voting is higher. Many expect the numbers to be in tune with the last election. Venturing out to cast his vote, Rajesh Mehta, chairman, Rajesh Exports, the leading Indian gold company says, "The voter turnout in 2013 in Karnataka was also high and the pooling percentage then was over 70 per cent. I think it will be at the same level this time too considering that it falls on a weekend. However, higher turnout is always a welcome development and good for democracy." This coming from the head of one of the only three Indian companies to figure in the global list of Fortune 500 companies as he ventures out to cast his vote is good for Bengaluru and the state.