With an 'Eye on Bengaluru,' key citizens debate poll issues

With an 'Eye on Bengaluru,' key citizens debate poll issues

A group of concerned citizens deliberated on a myriad of issues an average Bangalorean faces in the run-up to the May 5 Assembly elections in the State. Their focus was the ‘aam aadmi’.

The panel discussion, ‘Eye on Bengaluru’, was organised by private television channel CNN-IBN on the Infosys campus in Electronics City recently.

The panel included eminent Bangaloreans from varied backgrounds, including historian and author Ramachandra Guha, IAS officer Srivatsa Krishna, Bharatanatyam dancer and Bangalore resident Pratibha Prahalad, pro vice chancellor of Jain University and convener of the Lokniti Network Sandeep Shastri and co-founder of Citizen Matters, Subramanium Vincent.

Deputy Editor of CNN-IBN Sagarika Ghose co-ordinated the talk.

Ghose, in her introductory speech, described Bangalore as a centre of information technology and education.

However, the first issue that came up explored the flip side of being the centre of India’s globalisation dream, with the question, ‘Is Bangalore an island in Karnataka?’
The focus also moved to the notorious apathy of voters in the City. Sandeep Shastri said the apathy stemmed from lack of effort, the general attitude of the voter being, “Everyone is corrupt. We don’t know who they are, but they are corrupt.”

He pointed out that voters don’t do a background check of the candidates.
The audience on the show came up with suggestions such as introduction of Internet voting.

They also debated the pros and cons of voting and youth entering politics themselves.

Guha and Vincent noted the need for sustained activism to bring about awareness.
Srivatsa Krishna brought in another angle to the issue of governance when he pointed out that due to political turmoil in the last five years, the State had largely been functioning without political leadership and in this scenario, it was the bureaucratic leadership which kept the State going.

Prathibha Prahlad argued that the gap between voters and the system also existed because migrants who came to the City did not make the effort to integrate themselves with its cultural and linguistic identity. The audience too agreed with the panelists.

Traffic congestion, predictably, took the top spot. None of the political parties has spoken about reducing traffic within the City in their manifestoes and the BJP had even failed to keep up the promise made in 2008 about easing the traffic woes, the panelists said.

The show ended on a high note with members of the Bangalore Political Action Committee performing a dance they had choreographed to bring about political awareness.

‘Eye on Bengaluru’ debate will be telecast on CNN-IBN on Friday, May 3, at 8 pm.

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