KARNATAKA

Ministers hold forth, people wait

LIVING ON HOPE: Residents of Rajarajeshwarinagar Assembly Constituency at the ‘Jana Spandana’ at Nagarabhavi in Bangalore on Friday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Special Correspondent

Yeddyurappa had just enough time to deliver a speech

Bangalore: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa used the “Jana Spandana” programme in Rajarajeshwarinagar Assembly Constituency on Saturday to assert that his Government was financially sound and that it had not sought an overdraft of even Re. 1 and to promise a slew of development works worth a huge amount of money.

But it was an endless wait for hundreds of beneficiaries of old age pension, disability assistance, educational scholarships and other government schemes, who had come from various parts of the constituency. The much-publicised public contact programme, scheduled for 1 p.m., started around 3.30 p.m.

The beneficiaries – who included many old and disabled people – said that they had arrived at 10 a.m. and many had foregone lunch.

Mr. Yeddyurappa, who made a whirlwind visit to the venue between two appointments, said that “Jana Spandana”, “which takes benefits to people rather than make them come to government offices and MLAs’ houses”, had helped 5 lakh people so far. He said that he “understood the plight of ordinary people as a son of a farmer.”

Listing the works undertaken by his Government, Mr. Yeddyurappa said that Rs. 623 crore would be spent on improving roads in 12 constituencies before the rains begin next season. Since he was scheduled to leave by helicopter to his next appointment at Shimoga, he did not have time to distribute certificates to any beneficiaries even as a symbolic gesture.

BJP MP Ananth Kumar, another guest at the function, spoke at length about the threat of terrorism to India and the need to teach a lesson to Pakistan. He had many suggestions on providing additional security to Karnataka, especially its coastline. He punctuated the oratory on terror with advice on improving infrastructure.

Mr. Ananth Kumar said that metro rail should be extended from HAL to Kengeri and from Peenya to Bommanahalli. He added that Karnataka should bring pressure on the Railway Ministry to make Bangalore-Mysore track a double-line with automatic signals. Other ministers and dignitaries took stage after him, which included Katta Subramanya Naidu, Shobha Karandlaje and R. Ashok.

Meanwhile, Mariamma, an old woman who had come with her granddaughter Lakshmi who is physically and mentally challenged, continued to wait. Lakshmi had fallen asleep on her lap.