Accompanied by Youth Congress activists, 21-year-old Deeksha Bhandary has been conducting door-to-door visits in the city, seeking votes for her father Manjunath Bhandary, who is the Congress candidate from Shimoga.
Ms. Deeksha is not alone in this regard; the kith and kin of many other candidates have participated in electioneering in Shimoga. Ms. Deeksha is in the final year of her BA degree at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. “Politics is not new to me. I was elected general secretary of the Shimoga Youth Congress last year, and am vice-president of the Student’s Union at my college,” she said.
“Campaigning for the election is an excellent opportunity to interact with people, and I enjoy it. I believe that the lessons we learn from such interactions are more precious than what we find in classrooms,” she felt.
Even the family members of former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa (the BJP candidate from Shimoga) have joined electioneering. His son and MP B.Y. Raghavendra, and daughter-in-law Tejaswini Raghavendra, are conducting door-to-door visits in rural areas of Shikaripur.
Mr. Yeddyurappa’s daughter, S.Y. Arunadevi, has addressed a series of campaign meetings in Shimoga and Sagar. Ms. Arunadevi is the executive director of Jan Shikshan Samsthan, an organisation that provides vocational training to unemployed women. The institute receives grant-in-aid from the Union government.
The Shimoga District Congress Committee (SDCC) had expressed displeasure at Ms. Arunadevi’s involvement in electioneering. T.N. Srinivas, SDCC general secretary, had said that as she was the employee of a government-funded organisation, Ms. Arunadevi should distance herself from political activities. The committee later registered a complaint with the Election Commission against her.
It is a known fact that candidates alone cannot travel the length and breadth of the constituency and meet voters. Political observers feel that the participation of family members tends to add a personal touch to electioneering.