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Bangalore South candidates' debate marred by supporters' verbal clash
Saturday March 29, 2014 9:54 PM, IANS

A debate by candidates in the high-profile Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency Saturday was marred when supporters of Nandan Nilekani of Congress and Ananth Kumar of BJP engaged in heated arguments over issues raised by them.

The two-hour long panel discussion was organised by Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) - an initiative of citizens aimed at building a better Bangalore and headed by businesswoman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw - at a college to give an opportunity for the candidates of political parties to highlight their development agenda for the city to an invited audience.

Soon after Nilekani raised several issues concerning the city, including the need to address infrastructure issues, Ananth Kumar raised national issues concerning security, economy and corruption, provoking Congress supporters to shout him down and asking him to confine to issues concerning the city.

"It is disappointing that we have an MP who has no interest in talking about his agenda for the city. Instead of talking about his development agenda for the city, Kumar began attacking the UPA government," Nilekani lamented.

When Nilekani was replying to questions from the audience, Ananth Kumar's supporters disrupted him several times asking the former to answer in Kannada and not in English.

As the debate turned into heated arguments between supporters of both the parties, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) candidate Ruth Manorama and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Nina P. Nayak did not get enough time to present their development agenda.

"Kumar showed that he had no interest in doing any real work. It was business as usual for him and a sign of desperation. He does not want to have a conversation about the challenges we face or about his record in the constituency," said Nilekani.

BPAC ranked Ananth Kumar's performance in parliament below par.

"The people of Bangalore deserve a top ranked MP in Parliament, someone who focuses on getting things done for the people," Nilekani added.

Denying that his supporters disrupted the proceedings, Ananth Kumar said as the parliamentary elections concerned national issues, he was only raising them on priority and was not shirking issues concerning the city.

"This is general elections where the issues are of national importance. It is about our development agenda against the 10-year misrule of the UPA government and about providing clean governance against corruption and scandals of the UPA government," he retorted.

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