She can speak at least five languages. But she can’t read or write. Forget the Queen’s language, she finds it difficult even to identify Kannada alphabets. She is dreaming to be the corporator in this Silicon City.
Meet Jyothi Erachari, the JD(S) candidate for Doddanekundi ward (number 85) in Mahadevapura Assembly constituency. Her tryst with school was just for a year. And, she has no plans to become literate.
During the weekend, she was seen knocking the doors of posh houses in ‘E’ block in AECS Layout to seek votes. Her husband Erachari, son Pramod Kumar and two more men accompanied her. In all, just five of them, wearing party badges with an image of H D Kumaraswamy, were campaigning.
Will she be able to read the Karnataka Municipal Act, the broad framework under which BBMP works, or at the least the agenda for the meetings of the Palike council if she becomes corporator? Showing her paan-stained teeth, Jyothi said she did not understand the question though she said she can read Kannada in “slow motion”. However, her son intervened and said, “We will help her. I have created a Facebook page for her”.
She proudly said, “I can speak Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and even Bengali. I understand Malayalam.”
Jyothi, a homemaker, said she never angled for a ticket, but still the party ‘blessed’ her. She is yet to get any support from the party for the campaign. “We need the support of the apartment residents and media to win,” Erachari said.
Like Jyothi, there are many women who have turned candidates overnight, thanks to 50 per cent reservation for women, besides the ward reservation based on caste.
Manjula, the Congress nominee for the Adugodi ward (number 147), is another ‘blessed’ woman like Jyothi. This is her first attempt to become a corporator. The ward is reserved for Scheduled Castes (woman). Manjula’s husband K Samapath Kumar is a Congress worker.
When this reporter traced her to a slum, a bunch of women hired to function as cheer leaders, were waiting for her to begin the campaign. Questions posed to her were answered by her husband.
Asked to name the area MLA, she said, “Ramalinga Reddy.” But when told to name the area MP, she drew a blank. How will she understand the proceedings of the Council if she can’t read or write? Immediately, a youth in the group said, “She may join English classes.” Manjula said she has four children who are in school and college.
Padma, another homemaker, has turned a candidate for the JD(S) in Kamakshipalya ward (101). The ward is reserved for backward classes ‘A’ women. She never had schooling, Padma said. But she proudly said that she has been with the women’s wing of the party for the last 15 years.
How will she read documents, letters or files pertaining to the Palike if she gets elected? “My daughter has a double degree. My children will conduct tuitions for me at home,” she said.
Another woman candidate Bethamma Nagaraju is the JD(S) nominee for Vijayanagar ward (number 123), reserved for backward classes ‘A’ woman. She too cannot read or write.
It is impossible to reach her because neither was she seen campaigning nor her husband allowed her to receive phone calls.
It is not that there are only women candidates who are not properly educated. A glance at the list of candidates’ list shows that there are many men who have had only elementary education.
Jyothi Erachari, a polyglot who can’t read/write, is JD(S) candidate in Doddanekundi
Party has fielded Bethamma Nagaraju, whose husband does all the talking for her, in Vijayanagar
JD(S) has fielded Padma in Kamakshipalya ward, she’s never had schooling
Manjula, Congress nominee in Adugodi, is just a shadow of her husband