Is the common man no VIP?

It’s one of those things that makes you cringe when you hear about it but eventually fades from your memory. But 18-month-old Vijay refreshed our memories of five-year-old Abhishek. As much as we express anger against the BBMP, nothing really can be done to bring back these two lives. When I saw a local news channel showing footage of firemen working their way through drains, searching for little Vijay’s body, for me it brought back memories of Y S Rajashekhar Reddy, the late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. As soon as it was known that there was no contact with his helicopter, so many different agencies were pressed into action. ISRO, Greyhounds, the Indian Air Force, various aircrafts and choppers, paracommandos, help was even sought from the US Defence department for satellite imagery.

Such was the reaction from the country. Well, YSR was a VIP, one would say. But is Vijay or Abhishek’s lives less important in any way? When Abhishek could not be traced, the army was called in only much later, a few days later. For Vijay, it was only the firemen and police personnel who were searching on the first day. And irrespective of whether his body is found or not, it’s highly likely that everything is going to remain much the same after a few days. The Chief Minister played his part by announcing Rs. 1 lakh compensation. The BBMP Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena is reportedly attending a City Managers’ Association Conference in Canada. Like the local news channel asked, "What business does the Commissioner have in Canada that is more important than making sure that the city is prepared for the monsoons?"

S Subramanya faced the axe last time round. I, like many others in the city, thought this would be a wake up call for the BBMP. But in vain. So now will Meena be transferred? And then what will happen?

Instead of transferring officials, can’t the government come up with a plan to fix these storm water drains and prepare the city for the monsoons? At least, shouldn’t this be priority instead of thinking of transfers?

When YSR went missing how did different agencies from across the country come together to search for him? Will such work be done only if an ‘important’ person is involved?

So what if B S Yeddyurappa happens to slip and fall into one of the city drains today? How will civic agencies in the city respond to this? Isn’t that the treatment the common man should receive?

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About Vaishnavi Vittal 140 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.


  1. For yeddyurappa to slip and fall in a drain, first me must set fott on the ground! they always travel in cars and dont really know thr ground reality. He’s so out of touch with our streets that e’s alleged to have said in a meeting – “maragalu, kaadnall irbeku, city nalalla” (trees should be in forests, not in the city!) . Only people who walk/cycle know the importance of trees on the streets. Anyways, we can be rest assured, he’ll never fall into any drain!

  2. When it is a matter of life and death, VVIP or VIP or a common man, all are same. When it comes to authorities, it is only the kind of personal involvement that they show in addressing such issues matters. In YSR’s case, those agencies acted because they wanted to look good and somewhere they will be paid off. But in Vijay’s case, what will they get??? and after all such events, the only thing that we notice is the structural changes in the government organization. They may transfer Meena and it will continue to work in the same manner. This is not the change we want to see! To answer your question on BSY, by now someone would’ve got specially appointed to take extra care of him to keep him safe, just by reading your message.

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