Covers 40 places in Bantwal; avoids mentioning Modi, Yettinahole or PCPIR
The summer heat was quite high when Congress nominee for Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency B. Janardhana Poojary, 76, arrived at Kukkepady, a village about 10 km away from B.C. Road — an important junction on the Bangalore-Mangalore national highway.
Mr. Poojary’s first task was to get comfortable with the people waiting for him. He turned to a 60-year-old man and asked him how long he was waiting. “Two hours. But it’s not a problem, we want you to win,” the old man said. Wiping the sweat dropping down from his forehead, Mr. Poojary said, the schemes like Anna Bhagya and Ksheera Bhagya could be introduced because people had voted for the Congress in the last Assembly polls.
When people hesitated to raise their hands when Mr. Poojary asked for the number of people receiving rice at the rate of Rs. 1 per kg, he said, “You need not be ashamed. I know what poverty is and I have gone through it.” Elsewhere, he said, “You have voted for a party that has been feeding the poor.” Suggesting that he was only representing the common people, he said, “You are contesting the election not I. You should win.”
Travelling in his old Ambassador car, Mr. Poojary was late by nearly an hour on Wednesday when he had to cover as many as 40 places in Bantwal, including Kalladka, where violence was reported during a Congress meeting a few weeks ago.
At Pudamapadavu, he stopped at a construction site where a group of women labourers were working and explained to them Congress’s welfare schemes, though women hardly seemed to understand.
Mr. Poojary then visited Koltamajalu where he spent a few minutes at the reformer Narayana Guru temple. He stopped at Tenkabelur and asked media to be stay back. After a quick chat with District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai, Mr. Poojary realised he was behind schedule. The 76-year-old walked fast and even ran while trying to speak to people at shops and houses in Badakabail.
At Ammunje, a place where two persons died in flash floods last year, residents drew Mr. Poojary attention to bad the road in their area. “I cannot assure anything. Everything is being recorded. If I assure you anything, I will land in prison,” he said.
Mr. Poojary, who in public addresses used to claim that his fight this time was against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, did not make this claim during his interaction with voters. He even stayed away from issues such as communalism and Yettinahole project or compensation for farmers whose areca nut trees were hit by diseases, or generation of employment though projects such as Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region — the last named being on top of the party’s local manifesto.