Chitra V. Ramani
Bangalore: A visitor to Bangalore, Tanya Hollmann from Germany, witnessed a bit of Indian democracy in action. On her second day in the city, she was accosted by K.E. Radhakrishna, Janata Dal (Secular) candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, while he was campaigning outside Forum Mall here.
Prof. Radhakrishna, who was followed by a small army of supporters, distributed pamphlets and introduced himself to everyone outside the mall. “Hello, I am Prof. Radhakrishna, a contestant from Bangalore South constituency,” he said to Ms. Hollmann after handing out a pamphlet.
Later, Ms. Hollmann told The Hindu, “It is nice to see a candidate come out and meet the people. In Germany too contestants meet the people during their campaign. Unfortunately, I cannot support this gentleman.”
Prof. Radhakrishna maintained that the youth would identify with him. “I have over one lakh students belonging to three different generations. They identify with my cause, and I know that they will support my candidature,” he said. And seemingly to prove a point, he approached mainly the youth and spoke to them.
He is being supported by young leaders from the party, including Rajesh Gundu Rao and Dodda Ganesh (former cricketer). They accompany him on his campaigns to different parts of the constituency.
When a youngster approached him and asked him about his vision and ideology, the former principal of Seshadripuram College and Surana College jumped at the opportunity. “Being an academic for over 40 years, I will make education accessible and affordable. I will initiate politics of public involvement rather than politics of seclusion. I want to identify with your aims and aspirations, your voice and vision. I have no business being here if I cannot prove that I am different from the others,” he told the young man.
At Forum Mall, security personnel rushed to stop him distributing pamphlets to people sitting outside. They said as he did not seek prior permission from the management, he could not campaign outside the mall.
He then walked on 80-foot Road, Koramangala, and met many roadside and pushcart vendors. He walked into a small eatery and shook hands with the people there.
“I am often called ‘common people’s man’. I have analysed the profile of my constituency and that, according to me, gives me an edge over the other candidates,” he said.
He then took a much needed break from campaigning and treated himself to a glass of buttermilk from a mobile stall. “Please vote for me. I am contesting in the Lok Sabha elections from the Bangalore South constituency,” he told the physically challenged shop owner, who seemed surprised to see the crowd that was following him around.
“I have very little time left to campaign. I will try to cover as many areas as possible. We are consciously visiting small pockets and meeting people. Shortly, we will meet resident welfare associations and heads of educational institutions. We are going to organise corner meetings and road shows soon,” Prof. Radhakrishna added.