KARNATAKA

BJP launches `March to villages' campaign

BANGALORE NOV. 13. The "March to villages" call given by the State unit of the BJP to its cadres, as part of the second phase of Janasangarsha Yatra, to protest against alleged maladministration by the Congress Government, received good response on Thursday, the first day of the 18-day campaign, at Ullalu village in Kodigehalli Gram Panchayat limits, 12 km. from here.

The party has formed 252 teams for the yatra, which will go to 29,000 villages to find out the problems of the people, expose the "failures" of the State Government, and explain the "achievements" of the BJP-led Government at the Centre. The first team, which went to Ullalu, was led by the party's State unit President, H.N. Ananth Kumar.

Mr. Kumar heard the grievances of the people in a dalit colony, such as non-issuance of title deeds under a programme of regularisation of unauthorised occupancy even after 18 years, and non-issuance of yellow cards to a large number of eligible people. He asked party workers to collect details, and said a procession could be taken to Bangalore to demand action.

Expressing surprise that nearly two lakh cases of regularisation of unauthorised occupancy were pending in the State, Mr. Kumar said the Government had put to hardship nearly 30,000 families below the poverty line by cancelling their green cards and failing to issue yellow cards. He criticised the Government for "denying" rice under the Food for Work programme to agricultural labourers by allowing the use of heavy machinery and appointing contractors for desilting.

Releasing a pamphlet to expose "corruption and maladministration", the chairman of the party's State campaign committee, B.S. Yediyurappa, said democracy had no meaning if people did not have the right to recall their representatives for inefficiency.

Mr. Yediyurappa described the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna's announcement of direct annual payment of Rs. 5 lakh to gram panchayats as an election stunt. He said the Government had released only Rs. 370 crore against Rs. 72 crore due to gram panchayats in the past four years.

Online lotteries, which had ruined many families, were being continued for revenue, he alleged. Mr. Yediyurappa released a pamphlet explaining the achievements of the BJP-led Government at the Centre.

The deputy leader of the party in the Legislative Council, "Mukhya Mantri" Chandru, regretted that the village did not have facilities. People could not express their grievances as leaders of the ruling party, who could take remedial action, evaded them, he alleged.

Ramachandra Gowda, MLC, urged the people to help bring the BJP to power in the next election. The party's Bangalore city unit President, R. Ashok, who represents Uttarahalli (of which Ullalu is a part) in the Assembly, said the village did not have basic facilities such as road or drinking water supply as the zilla and taluk panchayats were starved of funds.

Mr. Kumar, who hoisted the party flag, welcomed Narayana Raju, former Vice-President of the Bommanahalli City Municipal Council, who joined the party at the function.

K. Paramasiviah, gram panchayat member, spoke.