Home > News > Elections 2004 > Report
Mummy, daddy, kids yatra?
M D Riti in Bangalore |
March 13, 2004 11:56 IST
Last Updated: March 13, 2004 14:13 IST
The small-made, bespectacled woman standing in the sidelines of the five star hotel lobby merged with the hotel staff, with her printed silk saree. As Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani walked in to Hotel Ashok, where he broke journey for the night on his Bharat Udhay Yatra, he stopped in his tracks and said, "Tejaswini, aap kaise hai?"
He was talking to Tejaswini, the wife of Karnataka BJP President Ananth Kumar. She is a former engineer from the Ministry of Defence's Aeronautical Development Establishment. Her husband could be the chief minister if the BJP wins Karnataka.
Family has formed an important aspect of the yatra, as Advani is accompanied by wife and daughter on his 8,500-kilometre journey. Advani was even ribbed about their occupying centrestage. "Is this a mummy, daddy, kids yatra?" quipped a scribe. "No, it's because they are supporting me that I am able to undertake this yatra," he replied. "My family is a great source of strength. They are here to make sure I am able to do this successfully, without damaging myself."
Every morning, Advani starts off by sitting in the cab of the bus, with Ananth Kumar squeezed in beside him. It looks like Kumar will be the BJP candidate for chief ministership in Karnataka. However, Advani is not saying anything yet. He does appear to believe that the BJP should project a candidate as its leader soon. "Please suggest this to party president Venkaiah Naidu when he comes here next," he said as he boarded the bus at one point.
"I have been enamoured of Bangalore for many years, especially since I first got interested in a digital diary," he said, seated in his hotel, before he left the city. "I got to know about Microsoft and Bill Gates, and the whole world of information technology. I desperately wanted to visit Infosys, and I finally did, recently, even though it was a Sunday. I met [Infosys Technologies Limited Chairman] N R Narayana Murthy and was impressed by the work being done there."
He did not miss the opportunity to take a dig at the Congress, and added, "Bangalore has progressed so much over the years, but only because of private enterprises like this. The [state] government has not helped in any way."
Watching him hop into the bus cabin brought to mind visions of the famous Pakistan bus, given that Advani's birthplace is Lahore. "I might have lived in Lahore for the first 20 years of my life, but I made my first and last visit to that country after I came out in 1968 to see the India-Pakistan cricket match," he admitted.
Now, he eagerly looks forward to an Indian victory in the cricket series. "I cannot watch the match on television as I will be on my yatra," he said, "but I am used to that, as I never get to watch cricket on television except on some Sundays. But I keep track of the scores, wherever I am." As
Today, Advani started out fom Bangalore punctually at 10 am. He will travel to Nelamangala, Kunigal, Arasikere, Birur and finally Shimoga. In the four days he is in Karnataka, he will cover 12 districts snd hold 55 meetings. He will also address roadside gatherings from his bus.