Ananth Kumar shops for votes on an evening well spent

Last Updated 24 March 2014, 20:01 IST

It’s 5 pm on Monday and there is an unusually large crowd in front of  Upahara Darshini on DVG Road. This eatery, commonly known as UD ,is a popular food joint. But Monday’s crowd is spilling out onto the streets. 

Bangalore Mayor B S Satyanarayana, his predecessor Venkatesh Murthy and Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya are seen sipping tea, standing in front of an electronic gadget showroom opposite the hotel. 

A few women are sitting under the bus shelter adjacent to the hotel. They are all waiting patiently for BJP candidate for Bangalore South H N Ananth Kumar to arrive. An open van with posters of Ananth Kumar and party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and replete with a public announcement system arrives on the scene.

At around 6 pm, Kumar arrives in his Innova and the show begins. Marching to the chants of “Ananth Modi jodi, Bharat ko Modi,” a smiling Kumar along with the local leaders wishes shopkeepers and their customers. As usual, DVG Road is bustling with activity at this time of the evening and the sitting MP makes best use of the prime time.

He is seen shaking hands, offering namaskaras and requesting softly with a bowed head “please vote”.  

Satyanarayana is full of vigour. He is seen entering shops, seeking the owners and customers to “vote for Ananth Kumar”. 

Cajoling one shopkeeper to come out and greet Kumar, Satyanarayana says all smiles, “Sir, we visit your shop to clear the garbage every day and you do not acknowledge us when we visit you”. The shopkeeper comes out running all smiles.

The padayatra enters Gandhi Bazaar main road and moves on to the market area. Fresh flowers and fruits have arrived and the street is blazing with different hues. Kumar greets the vendors and does some small talk with them. 

He even recognises some by name. Nearby, Vidyarthi Bhavan, famous for its ghee dosas, is overflowing with customers. Kumar and a few of his close aides enter the hotel and greet the customers. 

The custom is repeated at Roti Ghar. The padayatra continues on the opposite side of the main road, which hosts a footpath vegetable market. Ravi Subramanya, the local MLA, says Kumar will win hands down. 
“Initially, there was some fear about Aam Aadmi Party eating into our votes. But the party has now been exposed to be no more than a polished group of people with an agitational mindset,” he says. 

Kumar’s Congress opponent Nandan Nilekani has no base in the constituency, he insists.Kumar’s next stop is Chikpet and he proposes to have such padyatras both in residential and commercial areas covering major chunks of the constituency in the next 15 days.

(Published 24 March 2014, 18:15 IST)

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