Political parties have been showering them with ‘courtesy visits’ prior to the Lok Sabha elections

Religious leaders of different communities are being showered with ‘courtesy visitations’ by all political parties in the region, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

On Saturday, A.R. Krishnamurthy of the BJP, contesting from Chamarajanagar, called upon Suttur Math seer Shivaratri Deshikendra swami and sought his blessings. He was accompanied by Pratap Simha, BJP candidate from Mysore, and former Minister V. Somanna.

Mr. Krishnamurthy said he had completed the first round of campaigning, and had come to seek the blessings of the seer. He expressed confidence that the BJP would emerge on top, because of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s re-entry into the party.

On Friday, incumbent MP A.H. Vishwanath of the Congress, who is seeking re-election from Mysore, spent a great amount of time visiting various religious leaders. Before filing his nominations papers at 2.15 p.m., Mr. Vishwanath visited the Suttur Math seer.

He later visited Avadhoota Datta Peetha. He spent sometime with the Bishop of Mysore Thomas A. Vazhapilly, and later met with Sir Khazi of the Mysore Moulana Mohammed Usman Shariff. The MP then visited the religious heads of most communities before filing his nominations, a move perceived to be an effort to underline his secular credentials.

Visits to maths and religious institutions are a must for candidates of all political parties in the fray, in view of the large number of devotees these institutions command in the constituency. Some are powerful enough to wield influence across the State without influencing the voting pattern.

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