WATCH | Oldest legislator, at 92, is confident of support from young voters

A day of campaign with Shamanur Shivashankarappa, who is called ‘appaji’ in his constituency

Updated - May 09, 2023 01:38 pm IST

Published - May 07, 2023 08:47 pm IST - Davangere

Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa campaigning in his constituency on Saturday.

Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa campaigning in his constituency on Saturday. | Photo Credit: Ravichandran N

“Appaji is coming to your doorstep to seek your votes… please come out,” a loudspeaker blared, while an electric buggy carrying the 92–year-old industrialist-turned politician Shamanur Shivashankarappa, slowly moved in a narrow lane of a residential colony in Davangere Cotton Mills area.

As the campaign vehicle moved around, men and women of all ages came out to see him and wave at him, as he waved back. Amid chants of “Congress victory” and bursting of firecrackers, some who know him personally walked up him to exchange pleasantries.

Once city of cotton mills

In his traditional Davangere South Assembly constituency, which was once known for its cotton textile mills, Mr. Shivashankarappa, the oldest sitting legislator and possibly the oldest candidate in the fray, is being challenged by his one-time associate and now a BJP candidate Ajay Kumar. The Lingayat leader from Central Karnataka, who heads the Bapuji Group of Institutions, is among the richest candidates with declared assets of over ₹292 crore. He is seeking to win his Assembly elections for the sixth time.

“I have always been with people... I don’t feel like 92, but more 60 or 70,” Mr. Shivashankarappa said, expressing enthusiasm to contest the elections.

Selfie seekers

As his buggy moves through in the sweltering heat, among the many jostling for a glimpse are also those selfie-seekers to whom he cheerfully obliges. At some places, women workers dance in front of the vehicle. The young - many yet to vote and some first-time voters - also come out to see the man who has represented them in the Assembly five times. “It is an honour that we have such an old legislator, who continues to meet the voters. But what we need are more IT parks that generate employment,” says Surya B.M. and Vasudev V.S., first-time voters and third year students of Bapuji Institute of Engineering Technology.

Over six hours of hectic campaigning daily in the heat does not deter the nonagenarian Congress leader, who will turn 93 next month. Like most politicians, he gets down to bring about cohesion in his campaign. If at the beginning of the campaign, he had intervened to solve a tiff among two of his supporters, at the end of the campaign, he drove up to an area on the city’s outskirts to convince community members to remain united since his team had intelligence that they could swing to the other side.

When asked if he was confident of getting the votes of youngsters, he said: “I am 100% confident. Because of them, I have won five times.”

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.