BJP celebrates GAIL Gas success in Bangalore

Vol 20, PW 20 (29 Jun 17) People & Policy

Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP are doing all in their power to extract maximum political mileage out of GAIL's retail gas success in Bengaluru as they try to unseat Congress in Karnataka state elections next year.

Many are aghast that GAIL organised a lavish cultural event sprinkled with high-ranking BJP functionaries on June 18 to 'commission' its Bengaluru retail gas operations more than two years after it secured the licence on February 18, 2015. Karnataka is one of the last few Congress-held states in India.

And after its landslide March victory in Uttar Pradesh the BJP is strategically positioning itself for another upset. During the event GAIL chief BC Tripathi dutifully shared the stage with BJP chemicals and fertiliser minister Ananth Kumar, statistics minister DV Sadananda Gowda, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and legislators PC Mohan and Satish Reddy.

Notable by his absence was Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah. After local entertainers sang popular songs Kumar inaugurated the Bengaluru gas network describing it as, "Bengaluru taking a giant leap towards clean energy." One industry source quips he has never seen such an inauguration in the CGD sector where three central government ministers are in attendance - not even in Gujarat with its multiple gas networks.

So keen was GAIL to please its BJP guests that the whole event was webcast live on Facebook with live feeds from a CNG station and someone's house where a gas burner was lit.