Chitradurga free electricity power bill Karnataka Congress
Villagers, reportedly in Karnataka’s Jaalikatte, arguing with a meter reader, as seen in the video that has now gone viral | Video grab: Twitter

Karnataka villagers refuse to pay power bills citing free units promised by Cong

As Congress faces a power struggle in the way of chief minister appointment for Karnataka after winning the assembly polls with a massive mandate, another “power struggle” is brewing in some pockets of the state. Residents of a village in Chitradurga have reportedly refused to pay their electricity bills citing the party’s promise of free electricity for the first 200 units consumed.

In a video that has gone viral, villagers, reportedly in Karnataka’s Jaalikatte, can be seen arguing with meter readers, asking them why they had come to take the electricity charges. “Why should we pay the electricity bill? The Congress promised us free electricity after coming to power. We will not pay,” a villager can be seen saying.

The officials can be seen trying to explain that until the government is formed, the villagers must pay their bills. “Once the government is formed and it passes an order, you need not pay your bills. But until then, you do,” an official explains. “Then you collect from them (the Congress), not us. We will not pay the bill,” the villager says, asking the others not to pay their bills either.

Also read: Rahul announces 5th Congress guarantee in Karnataka; here’s what it is

The incident reportedly happened on Monday (May 15), two days after the Assembly election results were declared.

Congress guarantee

The Gruha Jyothi scheme was one of the five “guarantees” the Congress pledged to the people of Karnataka ahead of the May 10 polls. According to it, every household will be eligible for 200 units of free electricity per month. In January, too, the party had announced the free 200 units of power to help the people of the state fight price rise and save up for basics such as food, healthcare, and children’s education.

During election campaigns, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had asserted that the five “guarantees” would get the stamp of approval in the maiden Cabinet meeting if the party came to power in the state.

Also read: Karnataka: Congress has no warranty, its guarantees meaningless, Modi tells BJP workers

The BJP was quick to take the opportunity to warn of “chaos” in the state. BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted: “Villagers in Chitradurga refuse to pay electricity bill. Exhort others also not to pay! They tell the bill collector that Congress had promised them free electricity, as soon as they came to power… Go take it from them (Congress), they say. If Congress doesn’t give a CM soon, there will be chaos all around.”

(With agency inputs)

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