BANGALORE: With the Gandhinagar Ward by-election just around the corner (February 26), the candidates are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters.
On Monday, the candidates campaigned near Shiva temples where devotees had gathered to celebrate the Maha Shivaratri festival. While some visited houses asking for votes, others reached out to the public through technology. Meanwhile, candidates have roped in their state leaders for the campaign. Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and Gandhinagar MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao are campaigning for Congress candidate Gopalakrishna while Lok Sabha Member (Bangalore Central) P C Mohan is campaigning for BJP candidate Ramachandra.
Like many political leaders, Congress candidate T Gopalakrishna, a cloth merchant, has a personal website an he has also started online campaigns. His website tgopalakrishnacongress.com, has his personal details and ‘achievements’.
Many candidates, including Gopalakrishna, and a few independents utilised Maha Shivaratri festival to seek votes. According to sources in Congress, MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao and Congress candidate Gopalakrishna campaigned at a Shiva temple near Sirur Park. “This is a temple where at least 2,000 devotees will gather for Shivaratri. Our leaders campaigned and requested them to vote for Congress,” sources said. Dinesh Gundu Rao is also on a door-to-door campaign in ‘elite areas’ while other candidates are seen busy campaigning in slums.
JD(S) candidate P K Suresh said that he is a local person unlike other contestants. “My name was finalised before Election Commission issued a notification (for the election). I started campaigning soon after our leaders chose me. I visited many houses and distributed my brochures,” he said.
While some candidates are depending on technology, most of them are still dependent on the age-old campaigning method through autorickshaws. Speaking to Express, an auto driver said, “Candidates who hire autorichshaws pay `1,000 per day and this is inclusive of fuel. They also provide lunch and coffee during the campaign. This is one of the best times for auto drivers to make money.”
AIADMK candidate Yuvarj is being supported from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. R Rajendra, state AIADMK Treasurer, said, “At least 70 per cent of the voters in Gandhinagar ward are Tamilians. Jayalalithaa has sent two ministers for campaigning - Minister for Higher Education P Palaniappan and Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development K P Munusamy.”