Dinesh who? Voters cold-shoulder Cong MLA, want solutions to issues

Dinesh who? Voters cold-shoulder Cong MLA, want solutions to issues

Gandhinagar Congress candidate Dinesh Gundu Rao canvasses on Magadi Road on Tuesday. DH PHOTOg and seeking vote at Magadi road in Bengaluru on Monday. Photo by S K Dinesh Photo by S K Dinesh

Sarvana (45) spent four hours on Monday morning zestfully waving the Congress flag. From the looks of it, he should know the candidate’s name. But in reality, he did not.

Asked whom he was campaigning for, Sarvanna pointed the fingers at the “man with the mike”.

Many residents of Gandhi Nagar constituency, especially those living in Binneypet, Magadi Road, wondered who their candidate was. They asked sitting MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao who he was and what he did for them.

Rao is hoping to get elected again and was on his 11th straight day of campaigning on Monday. An agitated homemaker, Dhanalakshmi, turned Rao and his party workers away as they knocked on her doors asking for votes.

“I don’t know who you are. We’ve never seen you here. There’s no drinking or borewell water. Ensure we get basic facilities before asking for votes,” she said.

Indeed, many voters cold-shouldered Rao. A lot of them demanded good roads, water, sanitation and relief from the garbage menace. Voters asked Rao where he was in the last five years and why did not their conditions improve.

Party workers were unable to charm the voters despite their attempts to hard-sell Rao. As they kept bawling “Dinesh Gundu Rao ge vote maadi,” voters simply turned their backs. A while later, the workers changed their tunes, shouting, “If you want Anna Bhaghya, Ksheera Bhagya and BPL cards, vote for Congress.”

Rao took it all with a benign smile. He tried assuring voters that their problems will be solved and made a strong effort to connect with them by speaking in their own languages: Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

While he conceded that there were issues, Rao asserted that people in the constituency knew him and their response was overwhelming.

On the contrary, many supporters canvassing for Rao did not know his name. One said the candidate was Suresh; another lady called him Shashi. One of the workers also said Rao is a BJP candidate sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Campaigning started an hour late on Monday. While Gundu Rao planned for a convoy rally, he had to settle for padayatra as his workers pointed out that the roads were too narrow. He then went on a door-to-door campaign soliciting votes.