Two major political parties – the Congress and the BJP – are involved in a distinct style of poll campaigning in the Bangalore South constituency.
Jnanpith award winner Girish Karnad and theatre personalities K.M. Marulasiddappa and G.K. Govinda Rao have plunged into the poll campaign on their own, expressing support to Infosys founder and Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani, who is contesting against BJP’s five-time MP Ananth Kumar.
In contrast, Mr. Kumar, with a few supporters, launched a door-to-door campaign to seek blessings of “cultural icons” in the constituency. He called on Kannada artistes residing in Padmanabhanagar Assembly constituency and explained his agenda for the city if the party he wins.
Accompanied by the former Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, Mr. Kumar’s first target was the residence of film producer and actor B. Suresh. To garner support from the film fraternity, the former Union Minister said the BJP was against dubbing of films from other languages into Kannada.
Mr. Kumar called on actor Devaraj, award winning film director Nagathihalli Chandrashekar and noted teleserial director T.N. Seetharam, theatre artiste Master Hirannaiah and noted singer Shimoga Subbanna and sought their support against “crorepati Nilekani”, a debutant in politics.
Mr. Karnad, Prof. Marulasiddappa and Prof. Rao have been briskly campaigning in favour of Mr. Nilekani, Rizwan Ahmed (Bangalore Central) and C. Narayanaswamy (Bangalore North) for the past three days to ensure victory of ‘secular candidates’ against nominees of the “divisive” BJP.
After campaigning in J.P. Nagar and at the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens during the last two days, Mr. Karnad descended on M.N. Krishna Rao Park on Wednesday morning and told the morning walkers that the constituency never had a candidate of Mr. Nilekani’s stature before. “Mr. Nilekani possesses all skills to change the present system of politics,” they said.
However, it was Prof. Rao, who captured attention during the campaign because of his role as ‘Chief Minister’ in Mahaparva -a popular teleserial by Mr. Seetharam. With his characteristic smile, Prof. Rao appealed to the electorate to bless Congress candidates “in the interest of country”.
As usual, Prof. Marulasiddappa, with his caustic remarks did not lose an opportunity to question BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Modi for his “communal” politics. Instead of speaking about his contributions to Bangalore since first victory in 1996, “Mr. Ananth Kumar is speaking volumes about Gujarat model of development and Mr. Modi,” he said.