Candidates sweat it out for Hebbal

Candidates sweat it out for Hebbal

 With the polling day (February 13) for byelections to Hebbal constituency nearing,  candidates in fray from the three major parties -  the Congress, the BJP and the JD(S) - are spending more time with the voters.

On Tuesday, the usual three-hour break between 1 pm and 4 pm to beat the heat during the campaign was cut short by the candidates and untrodden bylanes in the Assembly segment were ventured into. The candidates - C K Abdul Rahaman Sharief (Congress), Y A Narayanaswamy (BJP) and Ismail Shariff (JD-S) consider Hebbal as the gateway to Bengaluru and promise to turn the constituency into a model one.

Despite the difference of opinion over selection of the candidate, the Congress is keen on wresting Hebbal constituency from the BJP. The Congress has made four ministers from Bengaluru as incharge of two Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) wards each in the constituency. The party high command favoured C K Abdul Rahaman Sharief, the grandson of former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief while Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had chosen Byrathi Suresh as the party candidate.

On its part, the backroom boys of the BJP have prepared three lists of voters - ‘A class,’  ‘B class’ and ‘C class’.  The first list comprises voters who the party is sure are BJP supporters, the third list comprises voters which the party believes will never vote for the BJP. It is the second list, comprising undecided voters, that the BJP is now working towards.

On Tuesday, Congress candidate Rahaman Sharief and his group of supporters covered a lot of ground on foot. They held door-to-door campaign in the residential localities of Bhoopasandra, UAS Layout, Manikshawnagar and Kalpana Chawla Main Road. “There were a lot of aspirants for the constituency but today we are a united family” says Sharief pointing out that Byrathi Suresh also has openly supported his candidature. “The BJP is spreading all sort of lies about a rift in the Congress ”, he adds.

A little further away, in Boopasandra, JD(S) candidate Ismail Shariff is also on a padayatra. The residents, most of them from minority community, invite him inside as he knocks on their doors. “People are looking for change and development ”, he says. Shariff is not a political greenhorn. He has tested electoral waters, albeit unsuccessfully, from Sarvagnanagar Assembly constituency as an independent candidate in the 2013 polls. His proximity to JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda helped him secure the ticket.

It is 2:30 pm and a group of people are seen waiting patiently outside Savitha Bhavan at AECS Layout for BJP candidate Narayanaswamy to arrive. Flowers are showered on the candidate and he is taken to a classroom of a school which functions from Bhavan’s premises. Narayanaswamy makes a brief speech to the members of Savitha Samaj (barber community). He promises to take up their demands including scholarships for students and pension benefits for the elderly with the government after getting elected. It’s BJP micro-level electioneering at work again.

Tuesday also witnessed former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa make his first appearance for the Hebbal by-poll campaign.

He along with senior leaders D V Sadanananda Gowda and R Ashoka addressed a sizeable crowd at Kuvempu Maidan in Dollar’s Colony. “By winning the Hebbal seat let us send Siddaramaiah a warning and also start our march toward emerging victorious in the 2018 Assembly polls”, he said.

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