Church St gala turns Haris show

Church St gala turns Haris show

Beleaguered MLA N A Haris, whose son is behind bars for a brutal assault on a diner at a Bengaluru pub, turned the opening of Church Street into a PR exercise on Thursday.

The Shanthinagar legislator's supporters marched in a procession and shouted slogans in his support. Busloads of people arrived as early as 8 am. They had been picked up from their neighbourhoods at 7 am. They held up posters praising 'Harisji'.

The influx of people blocked the busy road and caused traffic jams across many locations. Armed with flags, handbills, posters (read 'we are with N A Harisji' printed on it), badges and masks of Haris, Rahul Gandhi and chief minister Siddaramaiah, the crowd ruled the roost on the street.

Most had never been to Church Street before and didn't know what the event was all about. The crowd was mostly from Lakshman Rao Nagar in Ambedkar Nagar, Shanthinagar, Ashoknagar and Hombegowda Nagar (Wilson Garden).

A woman who works as a domestic help said, "This is the first time I am visiting this place. I have never come this side." By her estimate, about 2,000 people from her locality were at the event. "We just followed directions. We don't really know what is happening," said a resident of Ambedkar Nagar. Amurtharaj, 72, can barely walk. "I still thought I should come and support the Congress government," he says. A 19-year-old boy said, "My owner asked 15 of us to come here. We didn't know what we had come for."

Election gimmick

Citizens should be at the centre of the celebrations because  it is their tax money that was used for the makeover,  said Keerthi Rudresh, intellectual property attorney. "We  see politicians hogging the limelight instead," she said.

BBMP has spent Rs 14 crore to redo  750 metres of the road lined with  pubs, bars and eateries. The stretch is  friendly to pedestrians and cyclists

"It would be nice if  politicians develop  other roads also on  similar lines," says  Akshay Baradia,  cafe owner.

Ashish Khanna, a professional,  said the opening  had turned into a  political gimmick. "Politicians  are promoting  themselves," he said.

Litter everywhere

Church Street was  littered with masks, flags  and posters.

Blocked traffic

Homemaker Roopa Shankaran was heading  from Halasuru to Forum Mall in Koramangala.  "We were stuck near Cauvery Emporium for  almost 45 minutes because of VIP movement.  This is unfair," she said.

Sweet talk, khara bath  

Supporters from various neighbourhoods were  served kesari bath and khara bath before they  were ferried to Church Street. Five huge LED  screens and loudspeakers helped politicians  make their speeches heard loud and clear.  

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