Monday, March 29, 2010

BJP’s star voters shun cars for bikes on election day to show their faces to media cameras. And they flout the law

BJP’s star voters shun cars for bikes on election day to show their faces to media cameras. And they flout the law
SHYAMPRASAD S AND HEMANTH KASHYAP


Medical Education Minister Ramachandra Gowda and actorturned-MLC Jaggesh rode bikes to go vote on Sunday, but they didn't care to wear helmets. Leaders who preach the moment they get an opportunity defied the rulebook which prohibits riding two-wheelers without wearing helmets. Both leaders blamed the media for having persuaded them to ride on their bikes to the polling booth to cast their votes for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections.
The police, notorious for harassing citizens for trivial reasons, turned a blind eye towards netas flouting rules without a care.
CHASING BABUS
Ramachandra Gowda came out of his house in Basaveshwaranagar with wife Yashoda to reach the polling booth at Agrahara Dasarahalli. Some reporters requested him to get on his bike as it would make an ideal photo-opportunity. Instead of convincing the media that it was against the rules, he pulled out his daughter’s Kinetic Honda and rode it with his wife riding pillion.
Instead of convincing the media that it was against the rules, he pulled out his daughter’s Kinetic Honda and rode it with his wife riding pillion.
Two of his staff ran behind the scooter-borne couple to the nearby polling booth. “I love riding the bike. Moreover, I cannot take the official car to the voting booth," Gowda told reporters after casting his vote.
As medical education minister he has persuaded youngsters to wear helmets on several occasions in the past.
When Bangalore Mirror confronted him, he said: “To be frank, it was the press people who wanted me to drive the bike. I came back home in a cab belonging to a TV channel. I drove without a helmet on the gully, not on the main road. It was just a matter of one minute."
BULLET UNCLE
Jaggesh, MLC and vice-chairman of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, rode his 1956-make Mag-Dynamo Bullet to the polling booth in Malleswaram and Rajajinagar.
The film star, who rides the same bike in some of his films, wore no helmet. He enjoyed the Bullet ride on the trafficthin roads as lensmen aimed at him. Incidentally, this is not the first time that he rode a bike without wearing a helmet. Some days ago he went campaigning on the bike without wearing a helmet.
He told BM: "I drove only in the inside lanes. The road has been dug up near my house and I cannot get the car out. So I took the bike." He said the traffic cops would have been concerned if he had gone on the main roads and disrupted traffic. "I was not doing it for publicity but to cast my vote early in the morning," he said in defence.
TARA ZAMEEN PAR
National award-winning actress Tara and her husband Venu (a cinematographer) joined the netas in breaking the helmet rule. While Tara rode pillion, Venu rode to the booth less than a hundred metres from home without a helmet.
When BM spoke to Tara, she said: “It is a new scooter. It is not even registered. We did not want to take a car as the school where we were to cast the vote is just a hundred metres from home. When we were ready to leave TV people came and asked us to ride the bike saying it would look good. I would have rather preferred to walk to the polling booth. We have yet to buy a helmet."
BIDARI UNAWARE
Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari expressed ignorance about the matter. When asked whether any fines have been imposed on the trio, he said he had not received any information.
WHAT THE RULE SAYS
The Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules says: “Every person while driving or riding a motorcycle of any type, that is say motorcycles, scooters and mopeds shall wear protective headgear of such quality which will reduce head injuries to riders of two-wheeler resulting head impacts.”
WHAT DOCS SAY
Nimhans, which recently released the 'Bengaluru – Road Traffic Injury Surveillance Programme’ report, says: “The risk of death and severe brain injury increased by more than two times in the absence of helmet... Helmet rule should be implemented totally and not repealed or relaxed.”
WHAT THE COPS DO
Every week the cops penalise over 4,000 two-wheeler riders in Bangalore for riding without wearing helmets. The penalty for the offence is Rs 100. They have stepped up enforcement these days.
CAUGHT!
In 2008, Bangalore City Traffic police penalised 1.99 lakh riders for riding without helmets; in 2009 this figure went up to 2.30 lakh and in 2010 (by end of February) they have managed to stop, fine and chastise 42,236 bikers

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