Ministers and elected representatives in the state scrambled to beat the Election Commission’s announcement of the poll schedule by advancing the inauguration of various development works by an hour or two on Wednesday.
It all began with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah laying the foundation stone for the Rail Coach Factory at Kolar. He, however, was not lucky enough to launch other development schemes in north Karnataka.
As a result, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil rushed through the process of inaugurating the construction of rural roads programme in the absence of the Chief Minister at Belgaum by advancing the programme by an hour before the Election Commission announced the calendar of events at 10.30 am.
Following a message from Belgaum Deputy Commissioner N Jayaram that the poll code had come into effect, Patil abruptly ended programme.
Meanwhile, though Siddaramaiah reached Sambra airport, he was told that the poll code was in place.
He later meet Congress leaders and left. Ministers Patil and Beglaum MP Suresh Angadi had to even surrender their official vehicles at the venue at Suvarna Vidhana Soudha and leave in private cars.
In Hoskote near Bangalore, Union Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily advanced the inauguration of Big Trunk feeder bus services for Hoskote corridor early in the morning. Originally, the programme was fixed at 1.30 pm.
In Kunigal, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar managed to convert an official programme into a Congress workers’ meet.
Shivakumar was there to lay the foundation for the Bescom rural sub-division, section office buildings and two power stations. The programme, however, had to be wound up following instructions from officials about the commencement of the election code of conduct. The Minister, however, sought permission from the Deputy Commissioner to hold the party workers’ meet at the venue by offering to pay for the expenses incurred by BESCOM. The officials agreed after consulting their higher ups. “When not in power they make false promises to get votes and do nothing afterwards,” he said taking a dig at his bete noire, former PM H D Deve Gowda and his family.
In Tumkur, Law Minister T B Jayanchandra hastily inaugurated his office while Tumkur rural BJP MLA Suresh Gowda went ahead with laying the foundation stone for various development works in his Assembly segment. Similarly, MLA K B Prasanna Kumar laid the foundation stone in a hurry to start various road works estimated at `9.9 crore in Shimoga.
In Mysore, Siddaramaiah, however, was not that lucky. He had lined up the launch of several development works in Mysore and Chamarajanagar on Wednesday. He was to inaugurate Jagjivan Ram Bhavan, a PWD building, hostels, a CTO building in Hunsur other than laying the foundation stone for may other projects.