I am now of the view it should now be a global term for a situation where a politician holds a democratic state to ransom. Or when and his his cohorts emerge in brazen public eye to railroad anything that comes in their way of personal material upliftment. So, guess who has been Bangalored recently ? Well, its Bangalore !
The present war between politician and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and NICE, the promoters of the Bangalore-Mysore expressway project is downright sickening. And its a scar on democracy, even what we know of it.
The Indian Express ran a story last week which exposed the fact that Gowda owned a 47-acre piece of land off the expressway.And because he couldn’t use the land (allegedly) the way he wanted, he was stalling the project big time. Actually, better still. He was getting the state Government to do it. What was suspected all this while or known but not said is now in the open.
Gowda then proved his intentions by getting the Government to engineer a `hostile’ takeover of the land around the expressway, which was handed over to the project as part of the deal. The Chief Minister (Gowda’s son) said the Bill would protect the land of poor farmers. The 47 acres he owns next to the expressway is worth a crore an acre, according to the Express.
Fighting To Survive
Ashok Kheny the man behind the expressway has fought over 300 court cases already to get the project going. He fought two in the Supreme Court as well. In the last judgement, the SC pulled up the state government for its antics. Then Gowda tried changing the law as well. As politicians only know too well, there is nothing the courts can do if the law itself is changed. Fortunately, there is some relief, at least for now.
The point is not the court case. So far one assumed that Bangalore or for that matter IT has succeeded despite Government. Now, its actually about fighting Government to stay and survive. And being insulted and called the vilest of names (land grabber !) while doing that. Commerce and polity couldn’t be at more variance than this.
We are supposed to be 15 years into liberalisation and we can't get a 111 km road project done without it becoming a national issue and politicians baring their fangs. And the fact that they push ahead with their agenda knowing the cat's fully out of the bag amazes me. Actually it does not, anymore. So much for media and so much for the courts.
This Government Is Destroying Bangalore And India
The other unfortunate truth is that the Government (as represented in the present context) is systematically destroying the little goodwill Bangalore’s entrepreneurs have generated. Not just for themselves, but for India. Bangalore was supposed to be India's showcase. Not for this Government. It gives a fig that its the country’s image is at stake. Because for one or two individuals, their land and ego matter the most. The rest can be damned.
The conclusion is that the politicians can succeed. Look around and see the number of projects and initiatives that are not moving. That’s how it stacks up. Unless the city’s citizens rise up against him. The average Bangalorean I know is pretty upset with the turn of events. Its about time this showed up somewhere. Else, even Bombay’s troubles will pale in comparison. Even Bombay, as columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni pointed out this morning in the Indian Express, built a Bombay-Pune expressway. As he says, we seem to be determined NOT to build a developed nation.