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Karnataka: Congress in a bind over unkept manifesto promises

Bharat Joshi, DH News Service, Dec 31 2017, 19:03 IST

CMO admits only 70% poll pledges are fulfilled

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. DH File Photo

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. DH File Photo

For a party prepping for the poll campaign with the message that it has fulfilled 90% of the promises, Congress finds itself in a bit of a bind.

Contrary to its claims, however, the party has only fulfilled 70% of the poll pledges. This is not the figure blew up big by the opposition, but a reluctant admission made in the progress report released by the Chief Minister’s Office.

In particular, several important promises to Bengaluru remain unfulfilled.

At the height of its 2013 election campaign, the Congress made 170 promises. Categorised into various departments, the number of pledges increase to 214. While 150 promises are deemed ‘fulfilled’, 64 of them are at various stages of implementation: yet to start, partially implemented or slated for the next budget.

As for Bengaluru, the grand old party failed to accomplish eight pledges out of 19 it made during the previous election. The idea of developing botanical gardens in the city has been a non-starter, which the status report said was due to “non-availability of big vacant space.”

The party’s assurance of 100% effluent treatment in Bengaluru and reuse of the treated water for all non-drinking purpose was seen as a bold and progressive move. In reality, the treatment capacity for water recycling is a mere 576 MLD, not even half of the 1,400 MLD of sewage generated in the city. More importantly, the city can only achieve 100% water recycling by 2020.

Creating five more auditoriums in the city on the lines of Ravindra Kalakshetra and five multipurpose high-tech stadiums have been pushed to the next budget, while the promise of creating special geriatric departments in corporation/government hospitals has also been deferred.

Reviewing the size and quantum of BBMP’s jurisdiction, developing parking lots, upgrading and widening high-density corridors and expediting metro construction are works in progress.

Most of the eco-friendly initiatives promised in the 2013 manifesto like promoting Rainwater harvesting and 50% subsidy for solar energy use are also pushed to the backburner.

The government claims to have stuck to its promise by enacting a sweeping legislation exclusively to manage Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) by bringing all parastatal agencies under a single command. But officials argue that a BBMP-specific Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act is already in force.

“A legislation to split the BBMP into multiple corporations was indeed passed in the legislature,” urban expert V Ravichandar pointed out. “But it is yet to receive Presidential assent. So, if I were in the government, I’d say it’s a promise kept”.”

Creating a Greater Bengaluru Region and networking its infrastructure and administration with nearby cities; building north-south-east-west elevated corridors; making Bengaluru slum-free; restoring Bengaluru’s reputation as garden city are some of the promises shown as fulfilled.

Staying true to its Ahinda (minorities, backward class anddalits) agenda, the government has declared that it implemented 28 out of 32 pledges under social, minority and backward classes welfare departments.

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