Bridge collapsed in Shantinagar, while MLA NA Harris was campaigning
Bridge collapses in Shantinagar during MLA NA Harris's campaign rally. PR Handout

Elections make or break the fortunes of the politicians but for the slum dwellers in a Bengaluru city constituency, the cost of the high voltage campaign in Karnataka elections 2018 was pretty steep -- they lost the only bridge across a storm water drain. Hundreds of slum residents in Shantinagar constitunecy lost the only metal bridge connecting ISRO Colony and Cambridge Layout when sitting MLA, NA Haris, and his entourage trooped on it.

"MLA NA Haris, Corporator Lakshminarayan and their supporters were here to campaign for the assembly election this morning. The bridge broke down, as it could not withstand the weight of the hundreds of people accompanying them," said a resident of the colony.

He added that there was a concrete bridge earlier, which collapsed during the construction of a sanitary line five years ago. Domlur councillor Geetha Srinivas Reddy had later got the metal bridge constructed, which was the only means of connectivity for the residents of the colony.

The residents had a tough time on Tuesday after the bridge collapsed. "There is just one plank that is holding it together right now. We don't know when that will give way," added a resident of the colony.

While MLA NA Haris left the venue after the bridge collapse, some AAP activists rushed to help the residents of the colony. Local AAP leader Renuka Viswanathan tried to get immediate solution for the people of the area with the help of BBMP officials. 

"A Bridge collapsed in Shantinagar, while MLA NA Harris was campaigning, instead of repairing bridge he ran away. When Renuka Viswanathan came to know above incident, she immediately rushed to BBMP office and complained, and she ensured bridge get repaired.. here is the visuals of collapsed bridge & public reaction on NA Harris," read on a post on Karnataka AAP's Facebook page.

Talking about the incident, an AAP leader said: "More than 100 people are marooned on the other side of the broken foot bridge. One would be surprised at how such a place totally lacking in connectivity can exist in the centre of the city. Most slums in Shanthinagar are wedged between large fenced properties, such as defence lands, and storm water drains. There are even places where people live on top of the cement covers of these storm water drains."

He added: "Each one of these slums is a complete disaster. Most depend upon single foot bridges for their sustenance. Its bizarre, but these slums could be in some remote hilly area as far as their connectivity is concerned. Virtually nothing has been done for the residents here, even as their votes are sought, or squeezed out of them, by politicians."