Monday, March 22, 2010

Campaigning gets Bangalored

Campaigning gets Bangalored
R Venkatesh, Bangalore, Mar 21, DHNS:

Housemaids, push-cart vendors, flower vendors, security guards, electricians, plumbers, cobblers, washermen and other menial job workers in the City have taken a ''forced break''. Reason: to work for the elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Scarcity of housemaids has certainly hit working women. And with examinations round the corner, there is extra pressure on them.
The impact is directly affecting men who are forced to chip in and, as a result, there is tension in the family.

Since there is a ban on pamphlets, cutouts, signboards and other election materials by the Election Commission, the candidates, irrespective of the political parties, have resorted to door-to-door campaigning.

“My maid dropped a bomb shell saying she will not be coming to work till April 1. Since my son’s exams are starting, I had requested my office to permit me to leave early but now, I have to apply for leave,” says Anandi Krishnan, deputy manager (Finance), Mercedes-Benz Research and Development wing.

Deccan Herald caught up with Muniyamma, who is busy roping in workers for election campaigning.

“We are paid around Rs 250 to Rs 300 on week days and another Rs 100 on weekends. Wheatish/fair-skinned, decent-looking and English-speaking girls are in great demand. They get around Rs 400 to Rs 500. Depending on the political parties, we get sarees, matching blouses and dresses, food and water packets,” she said.

“It is very difficult to get workers during weekends so we are employing them for a fortnight on a lumpsum payment basis. There is stiff competition and middlemen play a major role in this, too,” said Lokesh, a campaign coordinator.

Veda Vyasa Bhat, BJP candidate of Siddapura (ward 144), said: “Neither have I the money nor the ability to go in search of workers for campaigning but my opponents have managed to hold on to more than 300 workers on a day-to-day basis.”

Congress candidate Uday Shankar said: “Of late, voters are insisting on the candidates to drop in and talk to them. Some of them are facing difficulties when they go and ask votes for their wives, sisters, brothers and in-laws. Virtually, they are being shooed away and under such circumstances, candidates are forced to adopt door-to-door canvassing.”

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