Saturday, March 27, 2010

More slogans and very little action

More slogans and very little action

With A day to go for Bangalore to vote, DNA and Janaagraha take a critical look at the 'populist' manifestoes of the three leading political parties

Doubts remain on their success

Manifestoes focus on the burning issues of voters but remain silent on how the goals will be achieved

Poll campaigning has undergone big changes but not the manifestoes being released by the political parties. Though the political parties had all the time in the last one year to prepare their development map for the city, the fact that the manifestoes were released just a week before the polling date is a sad reflection of them. A cursory look at the manifestoes is enough to conclude that they are a compendium of slogans than a vision document for city's overall development.
All the manifestoes have big ticket plans to improve the city's infrastructure. More flyovers, underpasses, mono rail, signal-free corridors, 24x7 water supply and much more, but without going further on the way to fulfill these promises.
Except for BJP's talk on rejuvenating Arkavathy and Vrishabhavathy rivers to quench the city's thirst in the long term and Congress throwing some light on its plans to involve Area Sabhas and Ward Committees to bring structural changes in city governance, the manifestoes are reflecting only macro view without any micro connect at the citizen level.
The disconnect with the citizen was loudly exposed at the 'Know Your Candidate' campaign conducted by Janaagraha. Over 90% of audience in these programmes were not bothered about how the parties will transform the city. They only wanted to know how the parties would ensure regular water supply, provide uninterrupted power supply and garbage disposal.
For instance, assurance of widening 93 arterial roads into four-lane roads is almost impossible considering the challenge of demolishing the existing structures, compensation to be paid and other issues involved. Similarly, JD(S) promise of levying one-time parking tax on new vehicles is touching just one side of the problem, as it is silent on increasing parking space in the city.
The parties have taken no care to distribute the manifestoes to general public, neither have the candidates taken interest to dovetail it to local needs. The big projects promised by all the political parties – be it the power plant at Bidadi or bringing Hemavathi water to Bangalore – these are state issues to be addressed by the government. Why do they need to put it in BBMP election manifesto?
People normally don't have the tendency to differentiate between the two and that is where one has to take a critical look at these manifestoes and see how realistic they are. Parties must make promises that are achievable.


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