State BJP President BS Yeddyurappa's stay in a slum at Laxmanapuri slum in Gandhinagar in the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly elections last year has proved costly for the host Muniratna, an autorickshaw driver. The visit appears to have cost the family Rs. 11,000.
Yeddyurappa had decided to stay in a slum for a night in February 2018 to gain first-hand experience of the problems suffered by people living in slums. However, he requested that a western-style commode be fitted instead of the existing Indian one as it would be uncomfortable for him. The BJP bore the cost of modification.
However, Indrani (64), who lives in the house with her son Munirathna, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, was not impressed when neither Yeddyurappa nor the BJP contacted the family after the visit. The family, which was uncomfortable using a western-style commode, decided to revert to using an Indian commode which cost Rs. 15,000 to be put in place again.
"We are not used to the western commode. In fact, I fell and hurt myself. Then we decided to change it to our old style. We removed the western toilet and constructed a new Indian style one and had to spend Rs 15,000 from our pocket. When we asked our local leaders, they paid us only Rs 4,000,’’ Indrani said, speaking to The New Indian Express.
Residents of Lakshmanpuri slum in Bengaluru experience several problems including uneven roads, frequent power cuts, irregular water supply and Indrani says she had to add a toilet to this list.
The visit to the slum was an attempt by the BJP to woo voters in urban areas. Other senior leaders like Jagadish Shettar and KS Eshwarappa had also slept in houses in slums in Hubballi and Shivamogga respectively in the run-up to the state elections and the party also released a socio-economic survey of slums in the state.