Steel flyover scrapped- people's victory or political gameplan?
The Karnataka government decided to scrap its ambitious yet contentious steel flyover project in Hebbal. While citizens claimed it
a victory for people's movement, there is more to it than what meets the eye. The BJP was quick to announce that the Rs 1800 crore
project was scrapped after a diary containing details of kick back semerged. The Congress, however, claimed that the project was scrappeddue to public opposition but made it very clear that BJP was stalling development projects in Bengaluru.
The decision to scrap the steel bridge project was taken during an MLAs meet in Bengaluru. Congress working President Dinesh Gundu Rao suggested that the project be dropped instead of allowing it to be a momunent of Congress' corruption. He accused the BJP of not taking a clear stand on the project but using it to level corruption charges against them. The Congress hopes to make the steel flyover a poll agenda in North Bengaluru constituencies. The government was adamant on going ahead with the project due to bottlenecks and heavy traffic snarls enroute the Airport. The six-lane bridge was aimed at bringing relief to residents who had time and again requested for de-congestion. So much so that while one group of citizens rallied against the flyover, another rallied for it in what came to be known as the 'Beku v/s beda' fight. The Congress hopes to bank on the 'Bedu brigade' to dent the BJP's performance in
constituencies of North Bengaluru in the upcoming assembly polls.
The BJP on the otherhand demanded that a CBI query be ordered into the diary expose that 'ultimately forced Congress to drop the
project'. "Citizens have been protesting from months together but congress decided to drop the project only after a diary alleging
kickbacks came to light. They are withdrawing the project since they fear that they will be exposed further. The chief minister is directly
involved and hence a CBI investigation is needed," B S Yeddyurappa said addressing the media soon after the project was scrapped.
"I will hold BJP and Rajeev Chandrashekhar responsible for not allowing developmental activities in Bengaluru," K J George had
said while announcing the 'painful' decision to scrap the steel bridge project. He cited 'People's opposition and baseless allegations' as reasons for cancelling the project. Till last month, the Congress had defended the project even willing to fight a legal battle for it. They had even stated that the project was approved during the previous BJP government and that the Congress was merely implementing it. Things took a turn after a diary allegedly belonging to a Congress MLA and containing details of kickbacks received surfaced, says the BJP.
By scrapping the steel bridge project the Congress has taken away a key agenda of the BJP to show Congress in a bad light. This, however, will not change the fact that the diary is going to feature prominently in all rallies of the BJP. The BJP, just like now, hopes
to portray the cancellation of the project as a defense mechanisms of a 'shaken Congress' while the Congress hopes to turn it
against the BJP, accusing it of hindering development of Bengaluru.