Shobha's power promise doesn't charge voters

Not impressed

Even as she promised to bring in resources to the backward district, members of the audience were not impressed. Many of them questioned loudly if the power supply hours which have gone up in the run-up to the elections, would be reduced after the elections, as had happened in the past.

Sensing the mood of the audience, Karandlaje, known to be close to chief minister B S Yeddyurappa declared that she would mobilise government resources for the development of the taluk, “if necessary, by fighting with Yeddyurappa and pressuring him to release grants to the taluk.”

When even that did not cut much ice, Karandlaje appealed to the pride of the people of Chikkaballapur. “You should be angry. You should be enraged. Have you ever been to the neighbouring Ramanagara district? Do you know how it is developed? Don’t you think your district should be developed like that? You should ask why your district is not developed like that,” Karandlaje said heatedly, without realising that she was paying a left-handed compliment to H D Kumaraswamy, who was elected from Ramanagara and represents Bangalore Rural constituency in the Lok Sabha which includes Ramanagara.

Karandlaje’s emotional appeal seemed to leave the audience cold, with many of them discussing among themselves their disillusionment with such promises.

The main topic of discussion among the listeners, even as Karandlaje continued her rhetoric, was how such promises were never kept after elections. Many in the audience were openly sceptical of the power minister’s ability to provide the rural district with at least a few hours of electric supply every day.

Desperate, Karandlaje, who in her earlier avatar as RDPR minister had wanted Taluk Panchayats to be scrapped, turned a champion of the TPs.

The taluk panchayats, she said, were the most neglected of the three-tier panchayat institutions, and argued for more funds for them as they are not able to facilitate development of rural areas, due to funds crunch. Soon after elections the taluk panchayats will be given priority, she added.

Karandlaje’s constant reference to Yeddyurappa in her speech added grist to the mill in the audience who were not clear about the party candidates for whom she was seeking votes. “Does she want us to elect her party’s candidates, or Yeddyurappa,” many of them loudly inquired.

Worried, BJP workers were begging the audience to not interrupt Karandlaje’s speech and to listen to her in silence, but in vain.

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