Gowda evokes pride, but no easy poll for grandson

Gowda evokes pride, but no easy poll for grandson

Manjunath said that he is an ardent follower of H D Deve Gowda and would not vote for anyone else even if he was paid a crore.

Veteran cook M K Manjunath, 76, had an unexpected visitor at his doorsteps in Kadavina Hosahalli village in Holenarsipur taluk, the fief of the JD(S). The visitor was BJP’s A Manju.

Manjunath jogtrotted to give Manju a hug. “You look just like your father, Manjanna,” he said, to which Manju responded: “Well, I know I’m getting old.”

Manjunath went down memory lane, all the way back to 1962, when he cooked for a function in Manju’s family. “Look, I’m an ardent follower of H D Deve Gowda. I’d not vote for anyone else even if I’m paid a crore. But he’s not contesting this time,” Manjunath said. “And his grandson isn’t the same as Gowda.”

Manju toils

This election, Manju is banking on the goodwill he has earned over the years.

A minister in the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, Manju joined the BJP as he was upset that the Congress decided to concede the Hassan Lok Sabha seat to the JD(S). Joining the BJP was a homecoming as Manju was earlier with the saffron party.

Manju’s opponent is JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna. He is the son of Public Works Minister H D Revanna, who represents the Holenarsipur Assembly segment in Hassan district. Like Manju, Prajwal is also banking on the goodwill his family has earned over the years.

“My family has taken care of all your needs - roads, canals, irrigation, schools and so on,” Prajwal, 28, reminded voters at Anekere village in Channarayapatna taluk. Prajwal was accompanied by his brother Suraj,
who was seen with a lemon in his hand, an extension of the faith Revanna has in astrology and superstition.

Generally, locals are fond of Deve Gowda and beam with pride that he went on to become India’s prime minister. But there is a simmering discontent that he chose to contest from Tumkur, fielding Prajwal in his stead. “If it was Gowda, I’d guarantee his victory. With Prajwal, I don’t know. He’ll win if he’s lucky,” farmer Nanjundegowda, 71, said.

Shivakumar, a local JD(S) worker, admits that the BJP had been gaining ground in the Vokkaliga-dominated Hassan. “Still, it’s 40% BJP versus 60% JD(S),” he said.

Manju also enjoys the support of a section of Congress workers. “The Vokkaliga votes will be split 100%. You’ll be shocked to see how people will vote here,” Manju said.