Home, park or restaurant - no hiding from vote seekers

April 12th, 2009 - 11:01 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, April 12 (IANS) There is no escaping their unctuous faces and folded hands. Whether one is out on a morning walk, going to the neighbourhood market or simply standing outside your home, the vote seekers - poll candidates, their family members and supporters - are everywhere trying to grab your attention.
Bangalore, famous as the garden city, has been witnessing early morning canvassing for votes in its parks. Those contesting the Lok Sabha polls begin their day by wooing people taking morning walks.

The next best place to catch Bangaloreans are the hundreds of eateries, famously called darshinis, so named because one can see the idlis being steamed, vadas fried and dosas roasted.

Then there are nearly 80,000 autorickshaws, a lifeline for the growing city, apart from the government-run city buses that are packed in the mornings and evenings.

Visits to places of worship, rounds of parks and eateries, travel by buses and stopping the autos for a brief chat with the passengers have become the routine for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) candidates for the three Bangalore seats - Bangalore Central, Bangalore South and Bangalore North.

BJP’s H.N. Ananth Kumar, seeking re-election from Bangalore South for the fifth time, was the first off the block in wooing voters as his candidature was announced by his party even before the polling dates for the state’s 28 seats were made public.

The three Bangalore constituencies are among the 17 where voting will take place April 23. In the rest it is on April 30.

Besides spending time with those on morning walks, Ananth Kumar has played cricket with youngsters and participated in the mushrooming laughter clubs where groups of health-conscious people practise “laughter therapy”.

His main opponent, Krishna Byre Gowda of the Congress, follows an almost identical regime.

The JD-S nominee is retired English professor K.E. Radhakrishna, while the other contestant is low-cost aviation pioneer G.R. Gopinath.

Three of the candidates are also banking on their wives to supplement the effort at vote gathering. Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini, Krishna Byre Gowda’s wife Meenakshi Seshadri and Gopinath’s wife Bhargavi either accompany their husbands or go for door-to-door campaigning on their own.

Candidates in the other two constituencies also visit places of worship, parks and eateries and travel by bus. In Bangalore North, former railway minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief of the Congress is facing his former party colleague D.B. Chandre Gowda who crossed over to the BJP recently.

In Bangalore Central, the fight is between former BJP parliamentarian H.T. Sangliana, who is now a Congress candidate, and the JD-S’ B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, who owns a major transport company. The BJP’s nominee is P.C. Mohan, a businessman and former member of the state assembly.

Besides the traditional vote gathering methods, Ananth Kumar and Krishna Byre Gowda also run web portals to reach the new age, tech-savvy voters.

Sangliana and Radhakrishna also have portals but they only list their achievements and are yet to host any election-related activity.

Ananth Kumar and Gopinath are active in keeping the media informed of their campaign programme through e-mail as well.

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