Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Govt finding excuses to postpone BBMP polls

Govt finding excuses to postpone BBMP polls

Sunitha Rao R

The state government is in the dock over the delay in conducting elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The High Court of Karnataka is furious over the government's inability to conduct the polls before its July 31-deadline. Former Mayor and Congress leader M Ramachandrappa spoke to Sunitha Rao R and alleged that there is more to the government's delaying tactics on the issue than meets the eye.

Why do you think the BBMP elections have been delayed?
It is a game-plan of the state government to retain control over the BBMP. Once the councillors are elected, MLAs and cabinet ministers will not have any role to play in the BBMP. The only way to avoid this is by deferring the elections, which the BJP government has very well succeeded in. The BBMP deals with transactions worth crores of rupees.These things are now being done without devising a proper plan or seeking any advice from public representatives. Why did the election commissioner go to the court and file an affidavit even before the government did? It just proves that the BJP government is governing the election commission too. Three months ago, the chief minister himself had said that the elections will be conducted before July 31. But nothing has happened so far.

For three years now, there has been no elected body. Do you think the city has suffered without people's representatives in the BBMP?
Of course, yes. If there was an elected body in the BBMP, trees on main roads would not have been chopped on the pretext of road widening. Chopped trees have not been replanted either. For infrastructure development of the city, global tenders should be called for. But BBMPis calling local tenders and the quality of work is being compromised. The best example to explain this is the improper maintenance of the subways in the city, which are first of all not serving any purpose. Earlier, when there was an elected body in the Palike, there were debates on every issue to discuss the pros and cons of any project before its implementation. But now, the cabinet ministers and MLAs take decisions on behalf of the BBMP and the work goes ashtray.

What do you foresee next?
Since the by-elections are coming up, the state government may once again come up with an affidavit stating that reservations cannot be done, as the code of conduct must be followed during by the elections. The government will find yet another reason to postpone the elections.

What should be done to ensure that elections are conducted?
A commission which monitors what the state government is doing with regard to the elections must be formed by the court itself. The neutral commission will help conduct the elections at the earliest.


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