Jenu Kurbara Gopala is contesting Assembly polls from H.D. Kote
Jenu Kurbara Gopala alias Pujari Gopala is a neo-literate — he can just about sign and read some Kannada. He is contesting the Assembly elections from the Heggadadevanakote (H.D. Kote) constituency, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, as the Bahujan Samaj Party candidate, but won’t bank on money or muscle power. “I want to lend respectability to the lives of primitive tribes in Karnataka,” he says.
“Jenu Kurubas were a vote bank in the past. I want to change that notion,” Mr. Gopala told The Hindu. He is the only Adivasi standing for election in the State, though 15 Assembly segments have been reserved for STs.
Mr. Gopala hails from Muthur colony in Periyapatna, but was born and brought up in H.D. Kote. That’s why people of H D. Kote do not consider him an “outsider”.
His manifesto is unique: he wants to eradicate alcoholism and focus on education among tribal communities.
Mr. Gopala says he got the BSP ticket after the Congress, the BJP, the Janata Dal (S) and the Karnataka Janata Paksha refused to give him ticket. However, the party has not given him funds.
He sold silver oak trees from his small plantation at Muthur to mobilise funds for election expenditure. “My resources will be well within the Election Commission’s stipulation of Rs. 16 lakh per candidate,” he says. Serving as president of the Karnataka State Jenu Kurubara Sangha, he is also a member of the Muthur Gram Panchayat.