In the narrow lanes of Jalligudde, political novice J.R. Lobo, Congress candidate, undertakes yet another door-to-door campaign on Wednesday in his endeavour to oust veteran and four-time MLA N. Yogish Bhat in the Mangalore South constituency. He beams at residents, puts their arm around them, and asks for their vote. While he assures them of solutions to their problems, the residents in turn assure him of their vote.

In the area of undulating terrain, where the pot-holed lanes makes steep dives and turns, there is a seething anger at the “neglect” of the area. “For 20 years, Mr. Bhat has been an MLA, but has not come here even once,” said Abdul Majid, shopkeeper at the bus stand. “There has been no development here. We get water twice a week, the roads are terrible, and the Padil railway overbridge issue has not been sorted out,” he said. Almost everyone who met Mr. Lobo repeated this.

At a small meeting held at a Congress worker’s house Mr. Lobo promised that he would bring out a special package for the region. “The water issue will be addressed, and I will guarantee construction of the railway overbridge,” he said. The rest of the speech attacked the “corrupt, communal” BJP administration.

The meet wound up in haste, and the backdrop for Mr. Lobo’s next speech changed to an air-conditioned plush room at Ocean Pearl. Here, a section of lawyers were extending their support to the Congress candidate.

When asked why the advocates were supporting Mr. Lobo, when one from their ilk – advocate S.P. Chengappa from the JD(S) – was seeking election from the same constituency, B.J. Furtado, an advocate, said: “This is not a lawyers’ election. This is a general election, and he doesn’t compare to Mr. Lobo.”

While the lawyers sang paeans about the former bureaucrat, Mariamma Thomas, a Karnataka Janata Party member, furtively slipped in. When asked if she had hopped parties, she replied: “I haven’t resigned from the KJP. I’m a fan of Mr. Lobo and I will support him in the elections.”

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