To vote for a change or not would be the key factor in Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency as BJP sitting MP H N Ananth Kumar, eyeing a fifth straight win, and his main rival Karnataka Youth Congress chief Krishna Byre Gowda slug it out in the multi-cornered contest.
BJP heavyweight Ananth Kumar, winning the seat since 1996, also faces low-cost aviation pioneer and Air Deccan founder Capt K Gopinath, who is on a solo sortie contesting as an independent and educationist Prof K E Radhakrishnan of JDS.
Ananth Kumar, a Brahmin, who prior to delimitation had the ballots tilted in his favour owing to a higher number of electorate from his community, now has his position challenged with Congress springing a last-minute surprise by pitting three-time MLA Gowda (37), seen as a fresh Vokkaliga face in the constituency which has four lakh Vokkaliga voters.
Besides the caste factor, Gowda has his youth going in his favour apart from qualifications and the US-returned tag that could appeal to the dominant urban educated class.
JDS nominee Radhakrishnan, also a Brahmin, is an educationist with over four decades in the field. True to its cosmopolitan nature, the constituency has a Brahmin population of 3.5 lakh, second to 4.5 lakh Vokkaligas followed by two lakh Kuruba voters, two lakh Reddys, one lakh Muslims and two lakh Christians.
Both Ananth Kumar and Gowda admit that the main battle will be between them in the April 23 polls.