Ananth Kumar: A lookback on promises and achievements

Five-time MP from Bangalore South has an overall performance score of 6.7 against the national average of 7.5.

Old promises and a status check

Last time around before the electorate voted him in for the 5th time many promises were made. His priorities according to his responses to Smart Vote:

* Priorities of your constituency?

World class public transport system; dedicated power generation and distribution system; augmentation of drinking water supply; clean, green environment; revamping of entire drainage system; rejuvenating three lost rivers of Bangalore

* How do you plan to address these issues in Parliament?

Already pushed circular railway for Bangalore, Metro, national transport policy, Vajpayee government cleared Cauvery 4th stage, will try to bring Cauvery 5th stage, bringing water from Hemavathi to Tippagondahalli, 5000 MW of power plant for Bangalore by bringing in NTPC to participate.

* Most important issues facing the nation that you will raise in parliament?

Security – bomb blasts; economy – inflation, GDP level etc have been destabilised; development – no infrastructure development.

* Most important contribution to public life.

No single pinpointing, but greenfield international airport for Bangalore, Metro, Forward-looking and caring administrator, constructive activity through Adamya Chetan, vocational training to girls,

* How will you be accessible in your constituency?

Mobility, accessibility. Mental plane – comfortable with oneself. I like being with people. I’m extremely accessible, and mobile. Physical plane- I have well-oiled office, emails, faxes, personal responses, no complaints. A  monthly magazine ‘Nimma Ananthkumar.’ first MP to launch website.

* Most significant failure, and the lesson

A public official has to take care of three things – arrogance, ignorance, indulgence

* What do you plan to do regarding corruption and terrorism?

Stronger anti-terrorist laws; stringent anti-corruption law; elimination of discretionary powers

 * How will you ensure money meant for development projects is not misused.

Standing committees, CAG etc should monitor better. All public spending should be public.

* On unemployment and moral policing

Public investment, creating investor-friendly environment, instilling confidence among corporate and common man. No one should be subjected to moral policing. Families should enforce morals, others should not. Whatever is done should be inside the framework of law.

Alongwith the above points, in an interview to Citizen Matters interview, Ananthkumar had stressed on citizen-centric governance and a separate law for Bangalore, rejuvenating 150 lakes of Bangalore, building houses for urban poor etc.

How much of the above were achieved by Ananth Kumar? Isn’t it possible to do anything sitting in opposition? This is a question the electorate have to ask and find answers.

Daksh citizen survey scores

  • Accessibility of MP: 6.1
  • Anti-terrorism: 6.7
  • Better employment opportunities: 6.7
  • Better electric supply: 6.2
  • Better Law and Order / Policing: 7
  • Better public transport: 6.5 Better roads: 6.8
  • Better schools: 6.9
  • Drinking water: 6.5
  • Empowerment of Women: 6.6
  • Environmental issues: 6.8
  • Eradication of Corruption: 6.6
  • Reservation for jobs and education: 6.7
  • Security for women: 6.9
  • Subsidized food distribution: 6.6
  • Training for jobs: 6.8
  • Trustworthiness of MP: 6.5
  • Better garbage clearance: 6.6
  • Encroachment of public land / lakes etc: 6.5
  • Facility for pedestrians and cyclists on roads: 6.6
  • Lower food prices for Consumers: 7

After five years

He scored a 6.5, 6.2 and 6.5 respectively, lower than the national average of MPs addressing those issues, on the issues of transport, power and water.

At the candidate debate organised by BPAC, he took credit for most of Bangalore’s development, including the Metro and increase in Cauvery water supply. His promises are on the lines of what he and Narendra Modi can do for the city and how he would scrap the Aadhaar card, if BJP came to power.

Ananthkumar’s MPLAD fund spend data doesn’t show any money spent on lakes, but one can see lot of borewells. He has funded 111 water projects to the tune of Rs. 4.5 crores – bulk of which are about sinking borewells, providing submersible pumps, water connections etc.

Civic Amenities top the MPLAD funds utilization charts, followed by community halls and cultural halls. Ananth Kumar has funded medical equipment for hospitals and health centres with 1.8 crores, and has spent Rs 4 crores on sanitation projects.

Citizen’s perception about the work he has done has a low score in all issues they were asked about. His highest score, 7, was scored for Better Law and Order and Policing and Lower Food Prices for Consumers. He scored a low of 6.1 for Accessibility of MP and 6.2 for Better Electricity.

Questions in Parliament

Among the MPs in Bangalore, Ananth Kumar has done a better job in Parliament, with 85% attendance, participation in 42 debates and asking 234 questions. Average number of questions and debates by Ananth Kumar are less than national average. He has been the face of BJP in Parlliament. The percentage of those questions which are starred is the highest among the 3 Bangalore MPs.

Affordable health Care was a topic Ananth Kumar raised in Parliament. He had asked whether the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had recommended that more drugs be brought under the purview of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.

He also wanted to know whether the reports of malnutrition and hunger were the result of lack of proper implementation of universal Public Distribution System, and the steps taken by the government to address this issue, andschemes to arrest the rate of mortality

Incentives provided by the government to promote solar and wind energy, specifically incentives to attract foreign private investors, number of factories which had been declared sick in India and the rehabilitation efforts to the employees of such factories by the government were the other things asked.

Ananth Kumar wanted to know whether the government was planning to dismantle the subsidy of water services to the agricultural and domestic sector and the assessment of the impact of this on common man given that the private sector would be in charge of water resources.

Citizen experiences

Though Ananthkumar claimed to be mobile and accessible, many of his constituents don’t agree with this. Says Chandan: “I don’t think he is approachable. He said, he has brought Metro to the city I appreciate that but Bangalore needs more than only metro. It needs more of traffic management. We only know him as a successful candidate who has won may election, but not more than that.”

Balasubramaniam, HSR Layout resident, says that MP’s local presence was NIL, participation and helping in addressing local issue was also zero. “He isn’t able to even discuss local issue since he isn’t aware and has no interest,” he says. Incidentally, Balasubramaniam has been active in working towards rejuvenating Somasundarapalya lake, which is being used as a construction dump by builders. Balasubramaniam’s complaints to people’s representatives including Ananth Kumar haven’t been able to stop encroachment.

However, there are some who recognise Ananth Kumar as a good representative. Rudy Dixit, resident, says: “I think he has done a good job in the Parliament. He has been the most vocal and visible face of all the MP’s from Karnataka in Parliament. It’s a welcome change compared to MPs who barely raise their voice save asking written questions.”

Read more : A comprehensive sum up of what the MP did over the past five years – on the MPs performance, local issues, MP LAD fund usage and controversies.

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About Josephine Joseph 46 Articles
Josephine Joseph researches and writes on urban governance, civic and environmental issues in Bangalore City, from a 'citizen' point of view.

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