Curb graft, improve civic amenities

The BJP has won a fiercely and bitterly contested election for the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), and reasserted its dominance in the capital city. The party has lost some seats, which shows there was some anti-incumbency sentiment at work. But that was not enough to dislodge it, and its victory, though by the simplest majority, is a sign of popular endorsement. For the Congress, the defeat is a setback and an embarrassment. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should accept major responsibility for the party’s failure. His leadership may be questioned in the coming days. The state government was not considered to be much concerned with Bengaluru. Its wrong-headed plan to divide the BBMP did not help. Instead of wasting time and effort on the plan, the government and the party should have focused attention on the city’s needs and problems.

The new corporators should take their mandate seriously and improve the civic experience of the people. They should resolve the problems of the people and be in constant touch with them. Corruption is a major problem in the BBMP. Both corporators and officials have been badly tainted with corruption and illegalities. Even steps against corruption are stalled and blocked. There is the need for constant vigil on the part of the people to curb and eliminate corruption. The BBMP’s finances are in dire straits. The city’s infrastructure needs great improvement and upgradation. The roads are bad, land scams are many, encroachments of storm water drains are common and building laws are violated wantonly. The city has not been able to solve its garbage problems after years of debate and efforts. This is crucial for the health and wellbeing of the people. The new BBMP council may go for a fresh budget as the earlier budget was scrapped after the dissolution of the corporation and a pruned one came up following the appointment of the administrator.

Half of the newly elected corporators are women. This is good but it has also raised fears that the women corporators may be proxies for men, who will wield real power. It will be unfortunate if the BBMP council will be devoid of any meaningful debate and the decisions will be taken outside it. It is for the women corporators to ensure that they are their own decision-makers. The new council should not go on a confrontation course with the government, as it is in the best interests of the city that both the BJP and the Congress work together. The chief minister should also give the city the best of the state’s officers. The BJP should take care that it does not betray the confidence reposed in it by the people.

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