Moily toils, Bachegowda banks on Modi

Moily toils, Bachegowda banks on Modi

It’s Saturday afternoon and the convoy of Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, the sitting MP of Chikkaballapur, winds through the narrow lanes off Tumkur Road leading to the village of Srinivasapura in Nelamangala.

The villagers have already received information that Moily will be visiting them and have gathered near the local co-operative milk society. Local leaders point out that people from the surrounding villages of Marasandra, Hanumanthegowdapalya and Hosapalya are also present. The very moderate crowd which had gathered does not look enthusiastic. The entire area wears a parched look. 

Moily meets them while his supporters urge the villagers to elect him for a second term. Soon Moily takes the mike and addresses the audience. 

He first pays homage to one of the Congress local leaders Rangaswamy, who had passed away recently. Soon he touches on the subject that can strike a chord with the people - drinking water. 

“The Yetthinahole project is my priority. Despite repeated requests, the BJP government did not release funds for the project. As soon as the Congress government came to power in the State, I spoke to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and told him that if the project is not implemented there would be a public uproar in the region. The State government has sanctioned Rs 13,000 crore. Tenders have already been called. Water will reach you within one-and-a-half years,” he says. 

Many in the audience blink. Perhaps they have heard the promises before. 

Moily then moves on to the next village, the plan is to cover around eight gram panchayats by evening in Nelamangala taluk.

Rousing reception

Earlier in the day, in stark contrast to the subdued mood in Srinivasapura, Moily receives a rousing reception in Nelamangala town. 

Former MLA Narendra Babu and former minister Anjanamurthy accompany Moily on a padayatra on BH Road. 

A Nadaswara players’ team led the group followed by an open jeep with posters of Moily and AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. Moily shakes hands with people, offers namaskaras, and moves on. 

A group of youths burst crackers when the padayatra reaches their shop. At another point, flower petals are showered on Moily. A little distance ahead an old woman narrates her grievances and breaks down. 

Around 200 street vendors have been evicted two months ago and they have nowhere to go. Most of them were running their businesses for the last 25 years and now their life is in a shambles, the old woman says and is joined by the others. Moily promises help.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Moily expressed confidence of winning the electoral race. “I have been a regular visitor to the constituency and have nurtured it well,” the Congress leader claims.

On former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) entering the fray in Chikkaballapur, Moily says, “If more powerful people come, the more the merrier it is. I do not want a tame battle. I am not worried. I know my strength. I can take on anybody, whatever tactics they adopt.”

Modi mantra

Some 60 km away, BJP candidate B N Bachegowda is been busy campaigning in Chikkaballapur town. 

Gowda has been holding meetings of party cadres in the eight Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency right from the hobli to the panchayat level. 

“There is a Modi wave in the constituency. Besides the party cadre is very strong in the entire region,” insists Gowda.

On Saturday, he campaigned in Mayappanahalli, Jaibhimanagar and Kanjenahalli by distributing pamphlets to the people. 

He later shifted to Bagepalli in the evening. Gowda, who joined the saffron fold from the JD(S) six years ago, believes it will be a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress. 

Bachegowda feels Kumaraswamy is a non-entity. “Kumaraswamy did not want to contest. He had to contest as the JD(S) could not find a candidate in the constituency,” Gowda claims. 

On his part, Kumaraswamy is yet to start his campaign in Chikkaballapur.

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