Cut to 2020, and Congress fielding Ravi’s wife H Kusuma in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar bypolls has come as a surprise as it was accused of pushing him to take the drastic step.
Kusuma is taking on BJP’s N Munirathna in a David vs Goliath fight, much like Ravi who was said to be an honest officer from a humble background fighting against a corrupt system during his brief tenure.
But is Ravi really a factor? Kusuma has often said she will never seek votes in her husband’s name. “Why should a woman always be seen as an extension of her husband? Whatever happened with my husband and me is a personal issue,” she told TOI in an interview.
She added that the suicide shook her up and her whole world exploded, forcing her to pick up the pieces to rebuild my life. “Why wouldn’t people vote for a woman ready to build herself? I represent today’s women,” she said.
According to Congress sources, the fact that she projects a calm and composed image gives credence to her candidature. Last week, the Karnataka Congress used an emotional video of Kusuma to project that the 31-year-old was wronged for being a woman who lost her husband at a very young age to appeal to women voters.
On the ground, both BJP and Congress believe Ravi does not resonate with voters.
“Ravi’s demise, though unfortunate, was made a public spectacle and won’t be a poll plank for us. The incident has been forgotten and there are pressing issues like unemployment and loss of livelihood due to mismanagement by BJP at the Centre and state,” said senior Congressman and part of the team in-charge of bypolls in RR Nagar.
The BJP, which launched a scathing attack against then Congress government, echoed this view.
“Ravi’s death was sensationalised and his unfortunate death cannot be considered a poll issue. For the BJP, the candidature of Munirathna and the party’s strongholds in the pocket are more than enough to defeat our rivals,” said revenue minister and BJP in-charge for RR Nagar R Ashoka.