Ahead of Bengaluru civic polls, citizens face flood of infrastructure development promises
With the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike polls, likely to be held in March, all the major political parties in the State are wooing voters in the State capital.
While the main opposition Congress party is undertaking a 165-km padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru to demand the construction of a reservoir to augment drinking water supply to the city, the ruling BJP has unveiled a massive ₹6,000 crore infrastructure package for the city. The regional Janata Dal (Secular) is reminding voters that it is under their party stalwarts HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy that several developmental projects were undertaken.
Control of the BBMP is seen as crucial by all parties as the city corporation has an annual budget of more than ₹10,000 crore.
Bengaluru also generates more than half of all revenue of the State. The city also has 28 Assembly seats in the 224-member legislature, the highest for any of the 30 districts in the State and the corporators of BBMP are seen as the basic building power blocks to help any party, win a majority of the seats.
The State government has served notices on Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar and 30 other senior Congress leaders for flouting Covid curbs.
Those served notices include senior Congress leaders such as former CMs Siddaramaiah and Veerappa Moily, and the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Former minister and senior Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda commenting on CM Bommai’s allocation of ₹6,000 crore for developmental works charged it was a ‘bogus announcement.’ Gowda alleged that the government is not giving the ₹6,000 crore from its own coffers but is borrowing a portion of the money from development boards, and the rest is coming from BBMP.
“Bengaluru is the chicken that lays the golden egg for Karnataka. Instead of taking care of the city, the government is stifling it. This will hurt Karnataka’s future,” he added.
Refuting Gowda’s charge, Prakash S, spokesperson of the BJP said, “Election or no election, Bengaluru needs infrastructure. It’s an international city and so should be developed on that scale. It’s not the quantum of money, it’s the nature of work that is important, and more funds would be allocated in the coming years. The city needs huge investments, which is now being addressed” he added.
Bandeppa Kashempura, Janata Dal (Secular) MLA, said that the government should first focus on helping the marginalised farmers and support the health infrastructure ‘Bangalore’s poll politics should not be their priority,’ he added.
The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC) says although the outlay of ₹6,000 crore is a welcome announcement, effective implementation is awaited. “The projects announced two years ago haven’t been implemented effectively yet. We hope the new projects don’t end up like the Ejipura flyover and several other white topping projects, which have ground to a halt due to legal hurdles,” KR Sekar BCIC President added.
Sandeep Shastri, Pro-vice chancellor Jain University said that the history of poll promises has shown people vote on the basis of what they actually see on the ground and the impact it has on their lives. “In Karnataka when sops were announced, the parties hardly benefitted. Because the sop is announced without any action on the ground. As to the latest sops it may be viewed cynically by the people because for five years there has been no action in reality.” That though has not dissuaded the parties from making a fresh set of promises.
With inputs by BL interns Haripriya Sureban and Isha Rautela