Out to shed his ‘outsider’ tag

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“Nanna parichaya unta?” (Do you know me?) This is how D.V. Sadananda Gowda, the ever-smiling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, greeted a group of curious women who had gathered to see his entourage in Nagenahalli village of K.R. Puram Assembly constituency. The suburb is a part of the Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency from where Mr. Sadananda Gowda is contesting.

The women nodded their heads knowingly and Mr. Gowda let out a sigh of relief, for the former Chief Minister was MP for the erstwhile Mangalore-Kodagu and Udupi-Chikmagalur constituencies earlier. He is out to prove that he is not an “outsider” in the largely three-way contest in the constituency.

Early in the morning, Mr. Sadananda Gowda sets off from his upmarket Sanjay Nagar residence, waving at his supporters and legislators who had assembled to accompany him on the campaign trail. The first stop-over is Sahakaranagar, where Mr. Gowda exchanges pleasantries with over 100 Telugu-speaking people appealing to them to vote for him.

At 9.45 a.m., as the temperature starts to peak, the convoy travels across a metalled road to reach Nagenahalli. According to the K.R. Puram MLA, Nandish Reddy, it was when Mr. Sadananda Gowda was Chief Minister that the proposal was cleared to upgrade the village road, the works of which had just begun.

Party workers, who were waiting for him, greeted him with slogans and bursting of crackers. Before climbing into an open vehicle, Mr. Sadananda Gowda applies some sunscreen lotion on his face.

Blaming the Congress and its “lopsided” policies and rising prices, he recalls what he considers happier days of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government 10 years ago.

Supporting Narendra Modi would help maintain the unity and integrity of the country in the light of the internal and external threats facing the nation, he says.

Perched atop the campaign vehicle with his son Karthik, Mr. Reddy and local councillors, Mr. Sadananda Gowda’s cavalcade reaches K. Narayanapura after a bumpy ride on a metalled road, but not without disrupting traffic. He addresses a small gathering at a place next to a Ganesha temple. The contents of his address are the same, generously sprinkled with local issues. The crowds eagerly oblige him with slogans and whistles.

Gunning for the Congress, bouquets for the works of Mr. Vajpayee, paeans to Mr. Modi — this was the pattern throughout his campaign in Geddalahalli, Kyalasanahalli, Vaddarapalya Chelakere, Horamavu and Kalkere. Most of the stopovers were at temples. Issues he touched were same throughout the trail. Pot holes, stinking open drainages, dry taps, welcomed the convoy.

A crowd near a small square opposite the Venugopala and Balaganapathi temple was thrilled when the former Chief Minister repeatedly asked them, “Gellistiri taane?” (Will you ensure my victory?) first in Kannada, then in Malayalam, Hindi, Tulu and Tamil.

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