It's testing times for candidates in Sampangiramnagar ward

It's testing times  for candidates in Sampangiramnagar ward

Fed up with the apathy of their previous corporator, around 3,000 residents of Sampangiramanagar ward under the Shivajinagar Assembly constituency have come up with an ingenious method to choose a corporator to ensure that he or she will be accountable to them.

A few months ago, these residents, mostly from areas around Hospital Road, Plain Street, Infantry Road and Union Street, formed themselves into a residents’ association called the Active Citizens Welfare Association. 
   
On the lines of choosing the perfect talent for a job, the association will ask candidates to write a test after which they will be asked to take an interview, where they will have to spell out their intent and ideas, if elected corporator.

“A number of candidates for the job do not even know about the area they are contesting from. So some of the questions we will be asking will gauge why a candidate wants to contest from here? How will he/she help the residents of the ward? Is he/she well informed about the ward and the problems faced by its residents? Is he/she accessible and service oriented? and so on,” said Sudarshan Kumar, treasurer of the association.

“We are not at all concerned about which party a candidate belongs to. We only want results,” he said.

The questionnaire would mostly be of objective type and candidates will, in fact, be able to answer these questions very easily and within half an hour, said Kumar.

“A candidate will get around five minutes to talk and explain his/her agenda for the ward. This way, it will also save a candidate’s time as he/she will not have to go around individually asking for votes. If all the members of the association are satisfied with a candidate, they will all vote for him/her,” said Sudarshan.

The association members themselves are a very active lot. Most of them are connected by WhatsApp, which also has the circle inspector of the area, the area’s BBMP and BESCOM assistant executive engineers as members. In case of any minor problem, information is immediately put on the WhatsApp group that most of the time gets quick responses.  

The residents regularly undertake repair work and cleaning work in the area, that should have originally been the responsibility of the civic body. Recently, railings were put on the footpath opposite Sultan Shah Masjid on Bowring Hospital Road to prevent encroachment by hawkers, a wall near Plain Street was not only painted but garbage in the area was also cleared, said M S Sufiyan, secretary of the association.           

However, a number of problems persist that cannot be dealt with by residents alone.
“Garbage is never cleared by BBMP in the area. There are a number of potholes on Hospital Road that need the intervention of the corporator,” said Sufiyan. Illogical traffic diversions in the area also need the intervention of the corporator, Sudarshan said.

There are around 33,000 residents in the entire ward and the last corporator N Gopi is from the BJP.

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