`He represented each citizen'

BIDAR, OCT. 7. Ramachandra Veerappa won seven elections from the Bidar (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency. For the first time in 13 years, Bidar goes to the polls without him around, forcing people to ponder over what made him such a popular politician.

"His greatest virtues were his simplicity and accessibility. His journey from a small town to the corridors of Parliament failed to alter his lifestyle. There was not a single allegation of corruption against him. His sincerity made the people vote for him again and again," Manmathappa Bichkunde, his biographer and former personal secretary, said.

The people could approach Mr. Veerappa at any time. There have been several instances when people have approached him after midnight. Though Mr. Veerappa met all those who came seeking his help, he did not promise to do anything that was against the rules. Mr. Veerappa never promised or tried to obtain personal favours, transfers, or reinstatement of suspended officials, Vishwanath Patil, senior journalist, said. Hanumanthappa Patil, family friend and retired teacher, said that Mr. Veerapppa believed that he represented each citizen in the constituency. He never sided with any caste or community to gain political mileage, he added.

Despite the Bharatiya Janata Party having fielded Mr. Veerappa's son in the byelection, people are sure to miss the late nonagenarian leader.