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Contesting the election from a hospital bed

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K.S. Puttanaiah
K.S. Puttanaiah

Shankar Bennur

K.S. Puttanaiah will undergo heart surgery today

MYSORE: This candidate will contest the Lok Sabha election not from the electoral battleground, but from a hospital. He has been in the forefront of the farmers’ movement for over three decades.

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) president K.S. Puttanaiah, who is the Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha (SKP) candidate for Mandya Lok Sabha seat, may not hit the campaign trail as he will undergo an emergency heart surgery in Bangalore on Wednesday. After the surgery, he has to undergo post-operative treatment after which he may be advised to take rest.

Owing to this, another farmer leader from Mandya, K.S. Nanjunde Gowda, who unsuccessfully contested the Assembly elections from Srirangapatna four times in a row, has been entrusted to lead Mr. Puttanaiah’s election campaign, with other leaders and supporters.

They have decided to visit every household in the constituency to ensure that their leader’s absence during campaigning is not felt.

Mr. Nanjunde Gowda told The Hindu that Mr. Puttanaiah would come to file his nomination, but his election campaign would be taken care of by the KRRS and paksha leaders.

“Even though he will be discharged after 10 days, it may be difficult for him to campaign,” he said.

“We have a strong base in Maddur, Mandya, Srirangapatna and Pandavapura constituencies. The Dalit organisations are supporting us,” he said.

Considering his strength as a prominent farmer leader, the SKP decided to field him for the Mandya seat. Mr. Puttanaiah’s supporters have resolved to work overtime to ensure his success in the election.

Nevertheless, is it possible to influence voters to cast their vote in favour of Mr. Puttanaiah when he won’t be campaigning?

“Mr. Puttanaiah is not a stranger to Mandya. He has been part of the farmers’ movement for three decades and has been highlighting farmers’ grievances at the State-level. Despite his inability to campaign, the voters will bless him,” according to his supporters.

Even though actor-turned-politician M.H. Ambareesh is yet to decide on whether to contest from Mandya, the Janata Dal (S) has fielded the former Minister N. Cheluvarayaswamy.

There is still confusion on whether D.C. Thammanna is still the BJP candidate despite the party’s “announcement”. There were rumours that director Prem of Jogi fame was being wooed by the BJP to contest from Mandya.

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