Gadag (North Karnataka), May 7: He was not even born when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984, but farmer Surya Naik, 28 in Gadag district of North Karnataka, asked who will he vote for on May 10, said: “I will vote for Indira Gandhi’s party.”
The legacy of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi still lingers in the minds of people who were born much later after she was murdered. Many people whom this correspondent met in Gadag area said that they would vote for “Indira Gandhi’s party”.
However this does not mean that the Congress candidate and sitting MLA H.K. Patil is comfortably placed in the constituency which has a large Muslim population along with Hindu Lingayats and Dalits.
BJP’s Anil Menasinakai lost to Patil in the 2018 polls by a slender margin of 1,868 votes.
Talking to IANS, Patil said: “The campaign is good and people are angry against the BJP government which is mired in corruption. I hail from Gadag and know the pulse of the constituency.”
“In the 2018 polls, there was an anti-incumbency wave against the Congress and this led to my margin getting reduced.”
Menasinakai, however, refuted the claims of Patil. “In 2018, my candidature was announced ten days before the last day of filing nomination and I didn’t get time to campaign, still BJP could manage to reduce the margin to 1868 votes,” the BJP leader told IANS at a party office in Gadag.
“This time, the list was announced a month before and I have completed two rounds of campaign in all villages in the constituency. I’m certain to win and after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally at Haveri, there is an upbeat mood among the workers and voters.”
The election to Gadag is fought on state level corruption and about the BJP government withdrawing reservation for Muslims.
Nisar Ahamad, an RTI activist and social worker, told IANS: “The Muslim community will vote totally for H.K. Patil. There are more than 40,000 Muslim votes in the constituency and this will be totally cast in favour of the Congress. H.K. Patil will notch an easy victory”.
Sivanandan, an auto driver, however, supports the BJP. “I’m 26 years of age. H.K. Patil sir is an old generation politician who doesn’t have a connect with our generation and youths in large numbers will vote for BJP candidate Anil Menasinakai.”