Karnataka elections: Spouses of leaders chip in, adding colour to campaign

As candidates in the May 5 Karnataka Assembly polls leave no stone unturned to woo the voters, their spouses are doing their bit to ensure that their better halves taste success.

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2013, 11:18 AM IST

Bangalore: As candidates in the May 5 Karnataka Assembly polls leave no stone unturned to woo the voters, their spouses are doing their bit to ensure that their better halves taste success.

For Shilpa Shettar, the heat and dust of the Hubli streets don`t matter as she campaigns for her husband Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, seeking a fifth win in a row.

What matters is the response of the people to her words. If she is able to strike a chord with the people and convince them of her plans for their better future, her day is made.

Her campaign, which commence at 7 AM in the morning, go on till about 10 in the night.

Whether it is having "jowar roti and pundi palya (dry curry made of green leafy vegetables)" at a Khanavali (local dhaba) to please supporters or having "chaha and Voggarne Avalakki "(puffed rice) with an elderly citizen in the evening, Shilpa does it all to see that her efforts are translated into votes.

Since women in the Hubli-Dharwad region are generally reticent and hesitate to talk to men, Shilpa is personally managing the campaign here.

She makes it a point to hold several meetings with them so that they share their problems with her, apart from door-to-door campaigns.

Meenakshi, wife of Congress candidate Krishna Byregowda believes in commencing the campaign during cooler hours.

Meenakshi begins her electioneering in the morning, making her way in the far flung areas of Byatarayanpura constituency and goes on till 10 in the night.

One room of her election office is solely for separate meetings with the campaigners.

It’s all in the family for Meenakshi who has roped in her in-laws and brother to manage the campaign.

She has chalked out some specific areas where she meets women, youth and the old people.

Bhavani Revanna, daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister and JD-S supremo H D Devegowda, strikes an instant rapport with the women of Holenarasipura in Hassan district from where her husband, JD-S leader H D Revanna is contesting, by applying "Kumkum" on their forehead and touching the feet of the elderly to seek their blessings.

For Lakshmi, BSR (Congress) founder B Sreeramulu`s wife, who is an "apolitical person", campaigning is hard work.

Campaigning in villages in the searing heat of Bellary is "not easy", she admits.

For Savitri, wife of law minister Suresh Kumar, who is contesting in Rajajinagar, the gift of the gab comes easy as she has been a journalist.

However, many others who are far removed from politics, prefer their husbands to do the politicking, except lending a hand here and there.

While some spouses bring in crowds, others are charting their own course with a group of women like the wives of Umesh Katti (from Hukkeri in Belgaum district) and Murgesh Nirani (Beelgi in Bagalkot District).

PTI