“Anna, akka, amma, Sir Yogish Bhatru banddiddare. BJP ge vote haki.” (“Brother, sister, mother, Sir Yogish Bhat has come. Vote for BJP”) was the common refrain as workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) knocked the doors of residents of Ashoknagar during the door-to-door campaign by the party candidate from Mangalore City South.
And 15 minutes into the campaigning, some workers discussed among themselves in Tulu: “Enklu ancha kenre balli. Kamalada chinneg vote padlend panodu.” (“That’s not how we should be appealing to people. We should say vote for the lotus symbol”). The campaigning words were immediately revised. What necessitated the change? Two independent candidates share their first name with Mr. Bhat. Some workers told The Hindu that they were insisting on the symbol to avoid confusion. But Mr. Bhat never seemed bothered about the issue much.
Mr. Bhat, with a shy smile on his lips, greeted people with folded hands saying “Namaskara”. Some reciprocated smile while some others returned the greetings of “namaskara”.
It was 7.30 a.m. when the four-time MLA began his campaigning at Ashoknagar near Urwa Stores.
In Ashoknagar, a resident expressed his anger against “party workers” for not connecting his house to the sewage line. “I am not angry at you (Mr. Bhat) but people surrounding you have let me down. Though I am a supporter of the party they did not help me. I got the job done on my own. Anyhow since you have come I will continue to support you,” he said.
Two hours into campaigning, Mr. Bhat took a break for breakfast. Back on trail, he gave an interview over his mobile phone to a magazine, even as he kept crisscrossing the narrow bylanes.
Mr. Bhat said the major demands of the people of Ashoknagar had been uninterrupted water supply and laying interlocks on lanes. He said he had fulfilled both the demands. Contradicting this, Satish, a resident, said the area gets water on alternate days. However, Neelamma at the neighbouring lane, said that her area gets water daily. Mr. Satish said two years ago his lane was getting water once in two or three days.
Later, Mr. Bhat drove to Kottara, Abbakka Nagara and Tantri Lane for the door-to-door campaign which ended at 1.35 p.m. as a local television channel interviewed Mr. Bhat for about 10 minutes at Abbakka Nagara.