They call it a battle between Sherlock Holmes and Amul Baby,with a scam accuseds man thrown in for variety.
Sherlock Holmes in Bangalores Hebbal constituency is JD(S) candidate Abdul Azeem,a supercop-turned-politician. Amul Baby is former union minister C K Jaffer Shariefs grandson Abdul Rahman Sharief,a political novice in his twenties and contesting on a Congress ticket. Completing the triangular contest is Jagadish Kumar,part of the personal staff of BJP MLA and former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu who had a stint in jail in connection with an alleged land scam,and whose ticket was given to Kumar instead.
Kumar seldom comes out to campaign,and voters miss the poll-eve delights ensured by Naidus magnanimity in the last election. When Azeem comes out,people whisper and retell stories about his honesty and fearlessness. By his own account,in 29 years of police service he had started as a sub-inspector and taken voluntary retirement when he was assistant commissioner he had won court convictions in 47 murder cases. But what earned him the sobriquet Sherlock Holmes was his exploits in the anti-rowdy squad in Bangalore in the late 90s. If you go by the tales people recount,thousands of rowdies left Bangalore never to return. Many in jail did not want bail, claims Azeem himself.
His promises include promotion of self-policing with neighbourhood watch squads,and government-at-your-door in the form of monthly meetings in every ward and with officials of every department present. With 45,000 Muslims and 30,000 Vokkaligas the JD(S)s perceived votebank among two lakh voters,backed up by the stories of his exploits,Azeem focuses on the margin of victory.
The so-called Amul Baby campaigns from door to door with hands folded. Three or four dozen supporters distribute a one-page pamphlet in English,An Appeal,addressed to voters: I belong to a family that is an all-time loyalist to the Congress I am the son of late Khader Nawaz Sharief who had drawn attention of national leaders like Sonia Gandhi. I am the grandson of C K Jaffer Sharief whose contributions to Karnataka as party leader and union minister are monumental.
It adds: It shall be my mission to bring about improvement in the living condition of the people. To achieve this aim,I shall effectively use my influence and persuasion not only over the state administration but also in my party high command
Asked why he joined politics,Rahman Sharief looks amused at the question. Because my grandfather was there and my father was there, he tells The Indian Express. As to what he was doing before joining politics,he is candid: Nothing.
His biography is on his website,www.ckabdulrahmansharief.com.