At an event organised by Janaagraha, participants blamed lack of intent and delay tactics
The need for civic elections and councillors representing their wards was the focus of Janaagraha’s 17th #CityPolitics conversation, organised on Wednesday, which is International Day of Democracy. Revolving around the theme of ‘#WhereIsMyCorporator’, the debate saw leaders from different political parties, former councillors, and citizens unanimously demanding that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections be held. It’s been one year since the term of the elected council in the BBMP ended.
Several participants said that the delay in polls was a violation of the 74th Amendment of the Constitution.
They added that problems such as solid waste management, poor condition of roads, and even the fallout of the pandemic could have been better managed with an elected body and citizens’ active participation at the ward level.
C.N. Deepak, general secretary of Karnataka Rashtra Samithi (KRS), pointed to the lack of accountability with the State government taking all decisions pertaining to the BBMP, such as tenders and even constituting a separate authority for SWM.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Usha Mohan alleged that the State Election Commission (SEC) had become a puppet in the hands of the ruling party, while former councillor of New Thippasandra Shilpa Abhilash (Congress) claimed that nodal officers appointed by the BBMP rarely addressed local issues. “Isn’t the government snatching away the rights of the people by delaying elections? What does governance mean then when people don’t have rights?” she asked.
Former councillor of Doddanekkundi ward Swetha Vijaykumar, who is from BJP, claimed that at the ward level, the pace of development work had slowed down. Not commenting on the delay in holding polls, she said: “When there was an elected body, processes took place smoothly. However, there are issues in issuing death certificates, medical bill reimbursements, while ward committee functioning is affected.”
K.V. Yashodha Rajanna from the Janata Dal (Secular) said there was a huge difference in governance when councillors are in place.
Former Opposition Leader Abdul Wajid from Congress, who even filed a case on holding polls in the Supreme Court, said the BBMP Act, 2020, had no vision. “The government is citing delimitation as a reason for the delay. A councillor plays a huge role in all welfare schemes, minute developments. I have faith in the judiciary. I urge Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to hold polls at the earliest,” he said.
Lalithamba B.V. from Bengaluru Navanirmana Party added: “The pandemic is not a reason; polls were held in other States during the pandemic and the polls to three corporations in the State were recently held”.
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