The Aam Aadmi Party cap came in handy for children playing Holi on Sunday along the Doddaballapur-Chickballapur stretch of the national highway. AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal took up campaign in parts of Bangalore, Doddaballapur and Chickballapur (where Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily is the incumbent MP) and scores of children who were out on the streets revelling rushed to his convoy to grab the caps. Perhaps the caps, though white in colour, gave them the much required extended time in the revellery. AAP volunteers distributed hundreds of caps throughout the roadshow. One elderly person, Shankar, a farmer in Doddaballapur, however, said that people who were smitten by the “topiwalas” were children who are yet to be conferred voting rights. When this reporter said that several adults too were accepting the caps, he said, “Taking the topis does not mean it will help in conversion to votes.” — Tanu Kulkarni
Puneet won’t return as mascot
Actor Puneet Rajkumar was the mascot for the Assembly elections in 2013 as the State Election Commission hoped to get more voters to the polling booths. Hoardings with his photograph and the message ‘real hero is the one who votes’ had sprung up all over Bangalore and across the State. His mascot duties, however, have come to an end as this time his sister-in-law Geetha Shivarajkumar will contest the elections on Janata Dal (Secular) ticket in Shimoga. The choice of the actor had come into question last time following rumours that Puneet was away on polling day and did not vote. — Bageshree S.
Plight of Hukkeri and Sharief
The plight of Minister for Sugar and Muzrai Prakash Hukkeri and that of the former Railway Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief is a case of irony. The “indifferent” treatment meted out to them in the matter of granting them ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections reminds one of the Kannada adage ‘Halliddavarige kadale illa, kadale iddavarige hallilla’. Interestingly, Mr. Prakash Hukkeri wanted ticket for his son Ganesh Hukkeri and saw to it that no other name was sent to AICC Central Election Committee by incorporating his name too in the list. What backfired was that the party selected him because he won with a huge margin in the Assembly elections last year. While Mr. Prakash Hukkeri is refusing to contest, come what may, the party is equally adamant in its decision, and he has become a butt of jokes in the party. Mr. Sharief, who worked in three Union governments headed by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao, failed to get ticket to contest from Bangalore North. Pushed to the wall, the veteran leader is trying his luck with the JD(S) and, in the process, could play a spoilsport for the Congress. — T.S. Ranganna
‘Want to bet on my victory?’
Enthused by the widespread response he has been getting in the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency in the last few days, Nandan Nilekani, probably one of the “richest” Congress candidates in the State, decided to bet on his victory with a senior journalist, at a recent programme at the Press Club of Bangalore. Mr. Nilekani is contesting against, among others, five-time BJP MP Ananth Kumar. Fearing a high-risk bet, the journalist declined the offer. “Please, no betting… let me see on May 16 [the day of the results],” the journalist said. — Nagesh Prabhu