While on the one hand, BJP supporters celebrated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s roadshow that began in Bengaluru amid huge fanfare on Saturday, 6 May, on the other hand, a section of Bengalureans were miffed and vented their ire over bad traffic management.
A busy Shanti Nagar bus stand wearing a deserted look for at least three hours, an ambulance stuck in traffic for a while in Jayanagar as the police stood around helplessly, trees pruned near Krishna Rao Park in Basavanagudi ahead of the prime minister’s road show — these were some of the scenes that were captured on camera and shared widely on social media.
PM’s roadshow amid huge fanfare
The 26-km roadshow from Someshwara Bhavan RBI Ground in Bengaluru South to Malleshwaram’s Sankey Tank was covered in about three hours. There were policemen deployed every 100 metres along the entire stretch, who made sure that the show went ahead without incident.
Modi’s roadshow passed through parts of south and central Bengaluru, touching about a dozen Assembly constituencies. Accompanied by Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya and Bengaluru Central MP PC Mohan, Modi was seen waving at a large, enthusiastic crowd that had lined up on both sides of the road.
Standing on a specially designed vehicle, Modi greeted the crowd. Many from the crowd were chanting “Modi, Modi”, “Jai Bajrang Bali”, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” slogans and cheering loudly in what appeared to be a “festive atmosphere” along the roadshow stretches, PTI reported.
At several places, people showered marigold flower petals as his cavalcade moved through the stretch. Amid sounds of drum beats, the prime minister too responded by hurling back the flower petals gathered on the vehicle, on to the crowd.
The entire roadshow route was decked with saffron hues as BJP flags were seen on either side of the road. Thousands of party workers and supporters too were wearing saffron shawls and caps. Saffron flags, which looked like the “Bhagwa flag” with lord Hanuman’s face on it, were spotted at several places.
Cultural teams were also stationed at different places along the stretch to welcome Modi. A group of women “Pourakarmikas” (civic workers) were seen gathered at a spot to greet him.
The much shorter roadshow, of about 10 km between Kempegowda statue at Thippasandra to Trinity Circle, will be held on Sunday.
Massive security arrangements were made along the roadshow stretch. The police had erected barricades and police personnel were deployed to ensure that the event went smoothly, with no one loitering or standing around at undesignated viewing spots anywhere near the roadshow.
Traffic movement was blocked from point-to-point where Modi’s cavalcade moved and soon after the vehicle crossed a particular stretch, the traffic was opened up for the public.
A ‘bane’ for several citizens
Modi’s roadshow in Bengaluru was supposed to take place on a single day. However, after social media was abuzz with concerns about inconvenience due to traffic restrictions and police security arrangements, the BJP announced, on Thursday, that the roadshow would be staggered over two days: Saturday and Sunday.
Soon after the adverse reactions and apprehensions, especially of the students who were to appear for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) — scheduled on Sunday — the state BJP once again modified the itinerary, advancing the 26-km roadshow from Sunday to Saturday, party officials told South First.
An elderly woman was seen complaining that it took a long time for her to reach the bus stop as the police would not allow her to use the regular road and she had missed the bus she took to work.
Another man complained that he (Modi) was coming around 12 noon, but they were blocking the road much before that. “It is causing a lot of inconvenience for the public until the time he arrives. They should work for the public first. No one is able to live as the gas rates and the cooking oil rates have gone up,” he said.
Citizens voiced their grouse to television channel cameras.
Another two-wheeler commuter said, “It is troubling the public at large. People are unable to go to work. What is the need to block the road so early when he is said to be coming half an hour later? Who will vote for such people? I am educated and I am not going to cast my vote. College students are walking until the metro station. Why are they doing like this? Let them hold a big meeting at the National College Grounds or Freedom Park. Why are they doing a rally on roads? Showing off like this wrong. Be it the prime minister or chief minister. It is wrong and they should not do it. Now I cannot go home. I have to wait until the rally is over on this stretch. These are all election gimmicks and I feel very bad.”
Opposition parties and its leaders shared clippings of citizens complaints.
Congress spokesperson Aiyshwarya Mahadev tweeted, “Where are the BJP Leaders who said no inconvenience to Ambulances and emergency services because of PMs Road Show!? Ambulances are stuck in Jayanagar while the cops stand around helpless!!! Remember that the Cost of Megalomania is peoples lives!!”
Where are the BJP Leaders who said no inconvenience to Ambulances and emergency services because of PMs Road Show!?
Ambulances are stuck in Jayanagar while the cops stand around helpless!!!
— Aiyshwarya Mahadev | ಐಶ್ವರ್ಯ ಮಂಚನಹಳ್ಳಿ ಮಹದೇವ (@AiyshwaryaM) May 6, 2023
Another netizen tweeted “Healthy full-grown trees slaughtered! Of the many things Bengalurigas swalpa adjust to, cutting trees isn’t one. The BJP is getting it all wrong this election.”
Carnage near Krishna Rao Park in Basavanagudi ahead of PM’s road show. Shared by a citizen in a WhatsApp group. pic.twitter.com/q9QF0wFIQf
— Shree D N (@Chilipili) May 6, 2023
As Modi embarked on his roadshow in the city, the Congress called him a “master of distortion” and alleged that he will only inflame prejudice and bigotry with his rally.
Congress general secretary, communications, Jairam Ramesh, said the prime minister’s roadshow will block the entire city and create chaos and uncertainty for students writing exams. It shows how desperate the prime minister is, he said.
“The Master Of Distortion and Incitement (‘Abuse’ No. 92??) is arriving in Bengaluru today. “We already know what he’ll say to inflame prejudice and bigotry,” he said on Twitter.
Ramesh said that the prime minister will stay absolutely silent on the real issues of Karnataka, which according to the Congress leader were “40 percent commission” government, intolerable price rise, rising unemployment, and a forever under-construction and dug-up Bengaluru.
“This time the despair is so high that his #40km40percent roadshow over 2 days is locking up an entire city, creating chaos & uncertainty for students writing crucial exams, and felling a number of trees. Have you ever seen a PM this desperate,” Ramesh asked.
The Master Of Distortion & Incitement (‘Abuse’ No. 92??) is arriving in Bengaluru today.
We already know what he’ll say to inflame prejudice & bigotry.
He will of course stay absolutely silent on the real issues of Karnataka
🤐 40% Commission Sarkara
🤐 Intolerable Price…
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) May 6, 2023
Meanwhile, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) members, on Saturday, filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI), that for the roadshow in Bengaluru, crores-worth of flex banners were used against the rules and the vehicles in which these materials were brought were not checked by the election officials which amounts to dereliction of duty.
A case has to be registered and those officials needs to be suspended, KPCC members wrote in their complaint to the ECI.