Caste surely cuts across party lines in Bangalore.
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Councillors from two major communities—Vokkaliga and Kuruba—seem to be “bonding” across party lines and often plan trips together, within India as well as to countries abroad.
In line with the proxy war between inseparable-friends-turned-bitter-foes former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and the present Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, councillors of the BBMP belonging to their respective communities are indulging in their own game of one-upmanship. On July 9, close to 50 BBMP councillors, all belonging to Vokkaliga community went to Madikeri, a trip alleged to have been organised by deputy mayor L Srinivas (who is from BJP). There were also reports that the JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy (Gowda’s son) was behind it. Now, Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy, a Kuruba, along with other councillors from his community will visit Sri Lanka for five days, along with their families. They will leave Bangalore on Thursday night.
Confirming this trip, Murthy said, “It is a personal visit with our family members. It is for a private function being held at Sri Lanka.” When asked about other councillors, he said, “I do not know which other councillors are coming with me. But some of them are joining us.”
BBMP sources said that as many as 21 councillors from the Kuruba community cutting across party lines are headed to the island nation along with the Mayor. Some of the BJP councillors going with him are Somashekar, H Suresh, Shakunthala Lakkappa and Muniraju.
A source said, “These councillors are supporters of Siddaramaiah, who is the top Kuruba leader now. Most of them are even planning to join the Congress after their term as councillors ends in 2015.” Since the BBMP Council came into existence in 2010, many such caste-based trips have been organised by private parties. Some of them are also sponsored by the Council.
In 2010, when M Nagaraj from Congress was opposition leader, he had organised a Singapore trip for Kuruba councillors. Later in October 2012, Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy along with other Kuruba councillors had visited Dubai. In the same month, deputy mayor L Srinivas and Vokkaliga councillors went to stay at Jaladhaama resort in Thalkaadu.