Creating awareness against 'note for vote' on wheels

Even as venality is pervading over polls after polls, a 53-year-old man, here, is educating voters against surrendering their rights for lucre.

M Khalid is involved in upholstery, running Karnataka Cushion Works on Irwin Road over the past several years.

Though a Muslim by birth, he believes in secularism, the one point he is proud of, naming all his venture after Karnataka. He is the founder of Akhila Karnataka Welfare Committee.

A resident of Kalyangiri Nagar, in the city, Khalid launched his awareness drive on March 13. For this, he has converted the rear of his scooter into a box type pole hoarding, with additional fittings in vertical, with a Kannada flag firmly fixed to the mudguard of the front wheel.

To reach out to the voters after dusk, he has installed a bulb inside the hoarding, suffice to keep the board visible and readable.

He travels at least 100 km per day, burning at least four litres of fuel. The rear of the scooter is modified, with a vertical board replete with awareness messages in Kannada, English and Urdu languages for the benefit of all — irrespective of community. He has spent around Rs 8,000 for the purpose.

The messages on the board reads: ‘Your vote is your strength. Please don’t sell it, Jai Bharath and Jai Karnataka’, displaying the portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Tipu Sultan.

The symbols of ‘Om’ denoting Hinduism, ‘Cross’ denoting Christianity and Sun with star above denoting Islam completes Khalid’s cry for secularism. A quotation in Kannada reads: ‘Jaathi jaathi annodannu bittu mounavagiru, nimma matha nimma hakku maarata maduvudu kaanoonu baahira’ (Don’t voice for caste, but maintain silence. Voting is your right and selling the rights is in violation of law).

Since 1984, Khalid claims to have involved in various social activities, from spreading awareness on conservation of water to fuel, and the importance of getting ration cards. To substantiate his claims, Khalid shows the photographs adorning the hoarding.

Khalid also tried his luck in elections, only to bite the dust. He unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha  and also MCC elections. Khalid also has plans to take his awareness drive to Kodagu as it is a part of Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha constituency, going to the polls on April 17.

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