This doctor-turned-scribe from Karnataka has a different hobby — contesting elections against political bigwigs.
However, he is disappointed that he could contest the Lok Sabha elections against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi but not against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi where his nomination was rejected.
UP Shivananda, a medicine graduate had given up his medical practice to run a local Kannada daily newspaper and highlight the ground issues in Puttur district of Dakshina Kannada. For Shivananda win or loss does not matter, contesting elections is his passion.
“I just want to contribute my bit to the democratic system of the country and it is not by just casting my vote but by being in the poll fray. It is a hobby, it is a passion. Whenever I go for campaign I always tell I am not here for votes but just to send out a message,” he told PTI. “I had filed my nominations from Amethi as well as Varanasi because I wanted to fight the elections against Rahul Gandhi and Modi as the Lok Sabha fight has been reduced to between two of them. While I contested the Amethi polls, my same form for nomination in Varanasi was rejected citing incomplete documents. If the same documents were enough to compete in Amethi why not Varanasi?,” he added.
Shivananda, who has filed a complaint before the Election Commission of India on the issue. However, this is not the first time that Sivananda has headed out to pursue his “hobby”. He had contested the Assembly polls in Karnataka in 1985 where he had fought the elections from four constituencies.
“I had filed my nomination from four constituencies from where the top contenders for the Chief Ministerial post were contesting then — Puttur, Baswanagudi, Karkada and Sorabha and was pitted against Ramakrishna Hegde, Veerappa Moily and Sarekoppa Bangarappa. Hegde was elected as the Chief Minister finally,” he said.
Sivananda had also contested 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Dakshin Kannada in Karnataka against BJPs two-time MP Nalin Kumar Kateel. “I had got over 4800 votes then. I always chose a different issue for contesting elections. This time my election agenda was gram swaraj which is the real democracy and power process and structure has to be from villages to Delhi or state capital,” he said.
While he has not heard from Election Commission on his complaint, he is in Varanasi conducting awareness drives for voters ahead of polling day on May 19.