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Deepa Balakrishnan
Monday , March 18, 2013 at 12 : 03

Battle bugles: polls and beyond


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Caught with their chaddis down?

The BJP suffered one of its worst election debacles since it came to power five years ago in the recent urban local body (ULB) elections. Though publicly the saffron party has been saying that this is not an indicator of worse times to come, many in the party agree they don't have too much hope of coming back to power in the Assembly polls two months from now.

Even in coastal Karnataka districts like Dakshina kannada and Uttar Kannada, the BJP suffered a drubbing like no other, though these are considered traditionally BJP bastions. Udupi perhaps presented the worst picture - the BJP lost in a place where they have never lost.

As one embarrassed member of the khaki-chaddi brigade put it: "We held many sangh activities from the sangh parivar... we thought we had attracted 1.5 lakh people who had attended these wearing their chaddis... looks like they all went back home, changed into pants, and voted for the Congress!"

Such straight-talkers, of course, are being told to refrain from media interviews.

How much is too much?

But one thing all parties acknowledge after these municipal elections is that the Congress surprise wins in so many places is likely to lead to more problems for the party that has often referred to itself as an 'ocean.'

Just as a too-sugary sweet will give you a sick feeling in the mouth, the Congress is now finding it difficult to swallow this 'sweet pill,' so to speak... the party is seeing many queuing up for its tickets. Constituencies in Bangalore City - where BJP is particularly on a weak footing - are attracting swarms of contenders for the'congress ticket' to fight elections on... The Rajajinagar Assembly seat, for instance, has 38 people wanting tickets.

"The highest applications we've received so far is 52 for one particular Assembly constituency," says Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwar.

The last time, a fight between two strong contenders for a ticket in Davangere led to an embarrassing tussle at the last minute. Though the Congress gave a 'B-form' ticket to one person, a powerful MLA's son took another B-form by force, took a helicopter to his hometown and filed his nomination papers on the last day, just before the closing time declared by the election commission.

On scrutiny, both nominations were rejected. The Congress ended up without an MLA contestant, at a time when there wasn't even a favourable wave for the party.

Well, look ahead to more buffoonery... the fun is just beginning.

What price, some water?

Everyone likes a good drought, but politicians even more so, it seems... and when it involves a water scarcity in the fertile Cauvery basin, it becomes the best issue to take political advantage of.

This time, neighbour Tamil Nadu has played its cards smartly and got favourable orders from top courts to get more water, leaving Karnataka with the proverbial mouse's share... with severe water shortage for even drinking water needs in Bangalore from the Cauvery, the state government has now decided to literally guard its water resources all the way through the course of the river...

And that's the logic by which administration teams have been told to do regular checks along the Cauvery - from Coorg to KRS and beyond - to check that no one builds illegal canals, even narrow channels, to divert water supply in between... So, in effect, to ensure there's no leakage of even 2 litres of water, the government has decided to spend 20 litres of diesel to send jeep-loads of "inspection" officers... (just a hypothetical estimate...)! In any case, if you were one of those who thought fuel was precious... well, water just became more precious.

P.S.: The strict inspection, though, is only till May 31st - either because the government hopes to have the monsoons in by then or because it hopes some other government takes on this headache post that


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