This is a stray writeup by a senior ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the organisation with which I am associated since more than 25 years) worker from Bellary, about his experience then and now.
Bellary witnessed a sensational political murder in 1987. Babu alias Railway Babu, a Congress councillor, was hacked to death in full public view.
Following Railway Babu’s death, by-election was held to the Bellary Municipal Council from the ward he had represented. Congress fielded Railway Babu’s relative and his gang member Ramanjini alias Kunta Ramanjini.
The BJP, which hardly had any presence in Bellary then, fielded M.S. Rao, a reputed architect who was known for his honesty and integrity. (It is another thing that only such people were in the BJP those days.)
I was among those 15-odd RSS, ABVP and BJP workers from all over the city who had gathered at the polling booth on the election day. Although I was only 18 years-old, was made to sit inside the booth as BJP’s polling agent.
As Congress goondas were indulging in massive proxy voting, I challenged them though I had been advised by our leaders to remain silent as we were no match to the Congress (read the dreaded gang) either in regard to muscle power or money power.
When I raised my voice against proxy voting, I was threatened and badly beaten up by a notorious rowdy who was almost of my age.
When I complained to our party leaders about the attack, Sri. G. Ranganna Shetty, who was the voice and the face of the Jana Sangh and the BJP in Bellary for over four decades until Sushma Swaraj entered Bellary in 1999, said: “Avarige adhikaara idhe avaru hodithaare. Namage adhikaara bandhaaga kanditha naavu avarige hodiyaana. Neenu summane iru thamma.”
The same notorious rowdy, who had beaten me on the polling day, threatened me again at the counting centre after the Congress candidate was declared elected.
I hoped that as Sri Ranganna Shetty had said, we too will come to power one day and I will get a chance to retaliate. But, I never got the opportunity.
The dreaded gangster who had assaulted and threatened me is now a minister in “our party Government.”
The ringleader of that notorious gang, which was into murders, extortion, robbery and kidnapping, could be the MP of “our party” from Hyderabad Karnataka region.
The councillor Railway Babu, whose murder necessitated that by-election, is the father of the T.H. Suresh Babu, “our party” MLA for Kampli.
Although 22 years have elapsed, those words of Sri. Ranganna Shetty are still ringing in my ears. For, the wounds have healed but not the scars.
It is another thing that the LAMP never glowed and the LOTUS never bloomed for Sri Ranganna Shetty who devoted his entire life for the BJS and the BJP by even neglecting his petty business.
Every day he used to crisscross entire Bellary on his bicycle for the party work even when the mercury touched 47 degrees during the summer. The BJP has now totally forgotten Sri Ranganna Shetty as he is of little use, thanks to Bellary Janardhana Reddy Party.
But even now Sri. Ranganna Shetty never misses an opportunity to proudly recollect the long association he had with Baburaoji, Jagganath Rao Joshi, Sreenivasa Saralaya, Y.S. Patil, Gundanna, Sanjeevanna and Mallik, to name a few.