Age is merely a number for 91-year-old Shamanur Shivashankarappa, who is again gearing up for the Assembly polls in Karnataka, as he calls himself a “galloping horse” in the electoral arena.
The Congress veteran, a five-time MLA and also a former Lok Sabha member, has been re-nominated by the grand old party to contest from Davangere South.
“I have people’s support and God’s blessings. What else is required?” asks Shivashankarappa with a smile expressing confidence of winning again. He has virtually become “synonymous” with Davangere in central Karnataka.
Dwelling on how the Congress gave him a ticket considering his age, he replied wittily: “Only galloping horses are chosen for races. I am one such horse. I am going to win with the highest margin in the election.”
The main fight of the elderly politician, who is also president of the influential Veerashaiva Mahasabha, in the May 10 Assembly elections is with BJP’s B G Ajay Kumar, a former Davangere mayor.
Also read: Karnataka polls: Seizures over Rs 200 cr made in the state
SS, as people around the veteran leader fondly call him, needs support while walking but has a good listening capacity, a clear voice and speaks his mind with clarity. He has declared assets worth ₹312.75 crore while filing nomination.
When a reporter, quoting some reports, told him that someone from the minority community was supposed to get the ticket instead of him, the Congress leader playfully chided him: “Don’t create trouble. All are with me here (Davangere South). You don’t need to bother about it. Muslims and Lingayats are all with me.”
An eminent educationist, who runs medical, engineering and nursing colleges, among others in Davangere, Shivashankarappa said he does not have a competitor in the electoral arena and he is sure of winning the election.
Shivashankarappa’s political acumen could be gauged from the fact that the party assigned him the job of getting former chief minister and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar into the Congress fold, a party leader told PTI.
Also read: Siddaramaiah returns to home constituency, files nomination from Varuna
The BJP denied Shettar a ticket to contest the upcoming elections following which he quit the party. The Congress was quick to induct him through Shivashankarappa, whose granddaughter and S S Ganesh’s daughter Anchal, is Shettar’s daughter-in-law.
The Congress has given ticket to Shivashankarappa’s son and former minister S S Mallikarjun to contest from Davangere North.