Nearly 1 lakh people thronged mega roadshow that kicked off PM Modi’s poll campaign in Bengaluru
Floral tributes, chants of Modi, and performances by folk artists – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mega roadshow in Bengaluru on Saturday had all the trademarks of a BJP-style event. Nearly one lakh people from five constituencies, including Dasarahalli, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Yelahanka, Mahalakshmi Layout and Yeshwanthpur, gathered along the 5-km stretch from Magadi NICE Road junction to Sumanahalli junction to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.
As dusk fell, BJP supporters, people from the neighbourhood and scores of party workers thronged the stretch to cheer for Modi, who hit the campaign trail in Bengaluru after completing public rallies in Bidar, Vijayapura and Belagavi, in view of the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka.
The roadshow covered the constituencies of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Mahalakshmi Layout, Yeshwanthpur – all represented by the BJP – and Dasarahalli, currently represented by the JD(S). The event was seen as an outreach to Vokkaligas and Dalits, the two main communities in the region, and as a morale booster for party workers.
In fact, PM Modi was flanked by Bengaluru North MP and former Union minister Sadananda Gowda, who belongs to the Vokkaliga community, and MLC Chalavadi Narayanaswamy, who belongs to the SC community. With the BJP trying hard to woo the Vokkaligas, the roadshow is expected to be a ‘gamechanger’ that can turn things in the party’s favour.
Despite the nearly 1 lakh-strong turn-up for Saturday evening’s roadshow, voters still feel that the BJP’s state unit still needs to do a better job when it comes to governance. Deepak P, a software engineer, shared, “Modi is an unmatched leader. However, when it comes to the state government in Karnataka, the leaders are far behind. Riding on the Modi wave for state elections only enhances the popularity of Modi, but the governance here needs a drastic change.”
Rajarajeshwari Nagar resident Prasanna G appeared to agree. “For voters, roadshow does not matter. It will not translate into votes. All we are asking is to reduce the price of commodities and make our lives easier. The prices of petrol, LPG, milk, food, have all been hiked, impacting the middle-class.”
A KSRTC employee, who is a resident of Sumanahalli, said, “While other state government employees got the 17 per cent hike and are happy, transport department employees are disappointed with the government. Transport unions are unworthy to fight for the concerns of the employees. It has been five years and the employees have not got a decent hike yet.”
However, Karthik K, a BJP supporter, had a different take. “Price rise is there in every other country and India is at least better placed. The price hike theory is a conspiracy by Opposition parties to discredit India. In Karnataka, the price of milk is cheaper compared to other states. The prices of commodities like petrol, ration and LPG are being hiked as per international market standards.”
Meanwhile, several commuters travelling through the stretch on Saturday were left disappointed after bus services and private vehicles were blocked in view of security measures. The traffic restrictions – which were in place from 10 am though the road show began at 6 pm – meant that those who took buses had to alight at Sumanahalli junction and were forced to walk 6 km till Magadi NICE Road junction.