Mandya: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) attempts to project a pro-farmer image blew up in its face as one of its advertisements carried the photo of a dead man hailing its policies.
The BJP issued the advertisement in a few Kannada dailies Sunday ahead of the Dec 26 and Dec 31 polls in 176 taluka (sub-district) and 30 zilla (district) panchayats.
The `happy farmer` ad had the photo of Nagaraju, a farm hand of Baburayanakoppalu village in this district, who had committed suicide May 27, 2009 as he was unable to repay his debt.
Mandya is about 80 km from Bangalore, on way to Mysore.
The enraged villagers and family members of Nagaraju, who is survived by his parents, wife and two children, are planning to block the Bangalore-Mysore highway Wednesday as the BJP has not apologized for the goof up.
"We will stage a dharna on the Bangalore-Mysore highway on Wednesday as no one from the BJP has come to the village to apologise to Nagaraju`s family," said B.S. Sandesh, former president of Srirangapatna taluka.
Sandesh said Nagaraju, 32, was the sole wage earner in the family. Nagaruju`s daughter Bhavya is a student of 12th standard and son Umesh studies in class 7, he said.
Sandesh said Baburayanakoppalu village had a population of around 3,000 and their main occupation was agriculture.
"Most of the villagers will participate in the road-block on Wednesday," he said.
The party, apparently realising the mistake, issued the same advertisement in a few Kannada dailies Monday, this time with the photo of another man.
BJP leaders in Mandya also said they will meet Nagaruju`s family to offer an apology.
"We will go there later to talk to the family members and villagers," BJP legislative council member Ashwathnarayana told IANS.
BJP is making vigorous efforts for a good show in the year-end polls and give a fitting reply to the corruption and nepotism charges surrounding Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and several of his ministers.
Yeddyurappa, under attack for favouring his kin with prime land in and around Bangalore, has won a breather from the BJP central leaders. He said he was confident of leading the party to victory in the polls.