news Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - 05:30
  A day after a Congress leader stirred controversy by saying only Kannadigas should be contesting the Bengaluru municipal elections, a number of the city’s residents have criticized his remarks. Actor-turned politician and convener of Kannada Development Authority Mukhyamantri Chandru stirred a controversy on Tuesday by saying that political parties must issue tickets only to Kannadigas for the upcoming Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike elections. The Congress member also said candidates must compulsorily be capable of reading and writing Kannada to prevent Bengaluru from slipping away from the hands of Kannadigas, a report in Kannada Prabha stated. The voters too must give preference to candidates who were Kannadigas, he added. He warned that he would ensure campaigning against parties which deprived Kannadigas of tickets and those which did not have a pro-Kannada manifesto. “Other languages have the upper hand now. Kannada is orphaned, and helpless,” Kannada daily Kannada Prabha quoted him as saying.  Managing Trustee of Bangalore Political Action Committee, Revathy Ashok said that while it was necessary for a candidate to know the local language to be able to communicate with grassroots workers, not issuing a ticket to a non-Kannadiga simply on the basis of him/her not being a Kannadiga would not be fair. “The election shouldn’t be about Kannadigas and non-Kannadigas, instead it should be about candidates who have a passion to work for the society, to make civic services available to citizens. Having said that, it is important for a candidate to understand and speak Kannada because a councillor is in the lowest rung of the political ladder and requires interaction with grassroots workers,” she said. Chandru also said that vehicles playing Kannada songs would be plied in all the 198 wards in the city to raise awareness among voters to vote only for Kannadiga candidates. Reacting to this, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw lashed out against Chandru for being “ignorant” that Bengaluru was a cosmopolitan city. “Such statements must not be encouraged,” she said. She further said as a cosmopolitan city, there will be an influx of people from across the country and as long as candidate feels like Bengalurean and is capable of addressing the issues of the city, he should be given a chance. However, Independent MP and member of Rajya Sabha Rajeev Chandrashekhar said that as a member of a political party and a citizen of the country, Chandru is entitled to his views and his statement cannot be called as wrong. “There is no bar on political leaders asking votes in the name of language, caste etc because democracy allows it,” said Rajeev. “Personally, I feel political leaders must not divide society on any basis. Voters will vote for any candidate who will give them a better Bengaluru.”  
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