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Padmanabhanagar doomed - rest of Bengaluru too?

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Governance

The following is the report by Sri N S Mukunda, Convener of Abhyudaya, a federation of RWAs in Padmanabhanagar, on the debate they organised between the BBMP Corporator candidates on 19th March. The prospects for the ward look pathetic. And, like Mr Mukunda has pointed out "I am sure that the expecrience is similar except in the degree of disappointment in other constituencies as well", and offered the possible way out as "like many of our colleaguews have done in this election only jump into the fray and contest and try to win - time we start thinking of far beyond this tokenism".

We from Abhyudya in ward 182 Padmanabhanagar,  had a debate with the candidates of Congress (Sri Murali), JD(S) (Sri Anjanappa). The BJP candidate Sri L Srinivasa, the ex corporator did not turn up, in spite of being invited. The debate took place yesterday evening at 5.30 PM and went on till 7.15 PM.

The deabte was lively and interesting. The impression one got after the debate can be summarised as follows:
1. Both the candidates were not aware of the basic issues involved in an election to the local body. When asked whether they will get us full value for the money invested by BBMP in its works under Programme of Works, they went on about getting quality work done. The audience had to remind them that their answers were offf track.
2. Both of them claimed that they will be spending far less than the official limit. In fact they claimed that their expenditure may at best be in the region of Rs.2.00 lakhs. In fact the JD(S) candidate informed the audience that he was instrumental in getting the BJP candidate caught redhanded with cash of Rs.2.28 lakhs which was being distributed in Gowdanapalya one of low income areas of our constituency and which was telecast live on Suvarna and TV9 channels on Thursday evening.
3. The understanding of both the candidates of the Sakrama bill was very perfenctory and casual. When confronted with the facts the typical answer was that they will consult us before taking any decision. It seemed to more of a standard typical answer that we have been receiving during the previous elections.
4. Similarly their views about Rain Water Harvesting was totally uninformed
The final impression that one got was that the candidates have been selected not on the basis of their ability to understand things but on other extraneous considerations of money power, caste equations and probably muscle power too. This in spite of the fact that a delegation of CAF members had personally met the respective party chiefs and reuqested them to field candidates with a vision, the media crying hoarse that time has come to field good candidates.
 
The citizens definitely put very straightforward and akward questions which received very tangential answers.
Some of the questions asked were:
1. Why are candidates from their paties spending vast sums of money in the Election and after winning these elections why will they  not recover the investment. Are they our kith and kin to spend so much money and win the election and offer sincere services. While they agreed in principle both claimed that they are not spending that kind of money. But we know that they have spent quite a lot of money during the past 6 months in wooing the voters.
2. The questions on SAKRAMA, Property taxes, CDP 2015 were very direct and to the point as to what their role was within the party forum when these bills were debated and passed and how they will be able to defy party directions  which may be contrary to what the citizens expect (and therefore not citizen friendly). The answers were very evasive
3. Regarding RWH less said the better about thie understanding
4. About the local issues - especially Garbage Clearnace - they simply had no original idea.
 
The whole debate left everyone of us frustrated and disappointed that the quality of cadidates has instead of improving over the years deteriorated over the years and the political parties are least bothred about getting their acts cleaned up.
 
The only alternatives that I could think of was either
1. build a strong enough citizen movement over the next 5 years which should make the political class to wake up and take  effective steps OR
2. like many of our colleaguews have done in this election only jump into the fray and contest and try to win. This is my personal opinion.
 
I have come to this tentative conclusion only after going through this "debate on a common platform" exercise at least 4 times and everytime it was proved to be total charade. For example during the previous election to the assembly our present MLA Sri R Ashok had promised among many other things that he will consult the citizens before selceting the candidates for BBMP elections. But this time he has selected the same ex corporator who has been responsible for all the mess in our ward and about whose earlier performance there is not a single soul who can put in a good word. And many of us have personally conveyed our disappointment to him but he seems to care for nobody except pursuing his own personal agenda. I am sure that the expecrience is similar except in the degree of disappointment in other constituencies as well. (And we in Abhyudaya have been doing this exercise for the past four elections)
 
Time we start thinking of far beyond this tokenism

Regards, nsmukunda

Muralidhar Rao

Comments

nanda_ramesh's picture

future of politics

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I think of this often.

Where has democracy gone wrong?

I feel it has not. Democracy is a good concept. However, it is the people who have gone wrong.

We have become greedy and unethical in our pursuit of power, fame and money.

As for the BBMP election discussed here, it is obvious that all those who are contesting and 99% of those who get elected will be people who ran only to gain a position of power through which to make themselves rich. The only hope we can have is that the elected will not atleast destroy his ward in that pursuit. That is he will make money only while doing "good" things.

The author calls for citizens to enter the fray. It will be great especially if they get elected. But is it practical in the current scenario? Even if he gets elected overcoming the goondaism and power politics, will he be willing to work in a high pressure job for long hours for what is peanuts (assuming he will be 100% uncorrupted)? Also, unless that person is a  tremendous human being, he will eventually get lured by the power and riches thrown at his door and lose his path.

I fear we have corrupted the system to the point of breakdown...

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