As the Karnataka Assembly elections draw closer and closer, the candidates from various parties are prepping up for the big day and are campaigning with all their might to win the hearts of their voters. On the May 5th, 2018, the people of Malleshwaram gathered at the Rotary Club near the 13th cross Government College premises in Malleshwaram to interact with their potential MLAs.
The event was organised by Bengaluru Political Action Committee (BPAC) in association with Rotary Bangalore West and Malleshwaram Swabhimana Initiative (MSI). The event saw the participation of various resident welfare associations such as Malleshwaram Social, Renaissance Park 3, Sadashivanagar Residents’ Welfare Association, Vyalikaval RWA among many others. The candidates included:
- Ashwath Narayan C N, who is the incumbent MLA of Malleswaram constituency, representing BJP
- Kengal Sripad Renu, from the Indian National Congress
- Subramanya Sharma from All Indian Mahila Empowerment Party and
- Aditya R A, an independent candidate.
Before the session began, the Malleshwaram Residents Welfare Association gave each of the candidates their general demands and issues that they had with the area. Some of the issues were:
- Footpaths: The footpaths were said to be highly unwalkable and having uneven height which posed a problem to the senior citizens with knee pain. Their demand for this was to standardise the footpath to 6” maximum height, tarring of the footpath for even levels, to ensure that the footpaths weren’t encroached by shops or other materials, all footpaths in the residential locality to be provided with resting benches and that drainage systes should be installed between the footpaths and the roads
- Electricity: The issue put forth here was that in many places, single phase power connections were present which posed a problem to the appliances at the residents’ homes and therefore this was to be converted to 3 Phase.
- Trees: The cable operators tie cables and electric lightings on the trees which are highly dangerous to human life and also damage the trees permanently. Therefore, they requested to keep the trees safe from these buntings and cables.
The other issues and demands the residents had were mostly regarding the water supply to the houses in upper Malleshwaram, the incidents of crime such as chain snatching, burglary that have increased in the recent past and that areas such as the playgrounds and parks that are now being encroached and used to establish hotels and other shops.
The session then began with K Jairaj, an ex-IAS officer, and the Secretary of B.PAC, who was the moderator for the day, giving a general idea about the session. Then it was taken over by the candidates who gave a brief introduction about themselves to the residents and then went on to answer the questions that the residents wanted them to answer in particular.
After this, there was a short question and answer session wherein, the audience were given a chance to questions to the candidates. At the end of the session, the Malleshwaram Resident Welfare Association (MRWA) shared the Malleshwaram Manifesto with the candidates which included the ideas and the demands of the residents for the development and the betterment of the area.
Here is a glimpse of the views shared by the candidates to the questions asked:
Q: What can you do to make Malleshwaram constituency better?
Kengal Sripad Renu: I would like to concentrate mainly on education and health care facilities. I would want to improve these sectors and deliver these in a better way to the citizens. I want to bring these facilities closer to the people so that they do not have to struggle for them.
Ashwath Narayan C N: This is my vision not only for Malleshwaram constituency, but for all the 28 constituencies in Bangalore. I would like to improve the public transportation system. Next, I would address the footpath issue and implement it in such a way that they are walkable so that people are physically and mentally fit. For the enhancement of the youth, youth development centres should be established. We will improve the water supply so that self-sufficiency is maintained.
Aditya R A: I would like to bring equality in the economic power in the constituency. There should be no difference between the rich and the poor. I would also like to improve the conditions of the Government schools and hospitals by promoting them through various advertisements. I would also want to put up free Wi-fi systems in public places like bus stops. Eco-friendly vehicles should be started and rain water harvesting pits will be established on every road. Waste management and generating power with the waste collected will also be implemented.
Q: How can we make Malleshwaram a safer area?
Subramanya Sharma: We have 7 wards and 5 police stations. It is going to be co-operative mechanism unless the bureaucracy and the government go into tandem. We don’t have to bring in a new system at all. We should empower the police.
Ashwath Narayan C N: To see a shift from “Crime Bangalore” to “Safe Bangalore”, we should make use of technology. The CCTVs we use now do not have the capability to recognise the person’s faces or the vehicle numbers clearly. We should improvise this. People should also be employed to monitor and maintain these cameras.
Aditya R A: Implementation of CCTVs on all the roads in Malleshwaram and also employ the police to monitor these constantly.
Q: How will you bring transparency and accountability in the government if you are elected?
Kengal Sripad Renu: I will post all everything on a website that will be specially created for Malleshwaram. That way you will be able to access all documents on your laptop or mobile.
Subramanya Sharma: The problem with posting my documents on the website is that some people, who are not well-versed in this age of technology, will find it hard. I am going to be a 24/7 MLA to all of you. I’ll have a call centre and you can approach me at any given time of the day.
Q: How will you maintain the co-ordination between the different interdepartmental agencies and other agencies such as BWSSB, BESCOM etc.?
Kengal Sripad Renu: The functioning of the Government is a two-way street. In democracy, strength is numbers and if democracy has to work then all of us have to join hands together
Subramanya Sharma: Don’t get involved in the bureaucracy. India has a highly democratic system and if you need anything, I, your MLA will always be there for you.
Ashwath Narayan C N: All the agencies are planning their budgets independently. Therefore, there is no co-ordination between the agencies. Road History is the only common platform where all the agencies can integrate.
Q: What are your plans for women empowerment in the constituency?
Subramanya Sharma: My party says we will bring back 50% reservations for women. We are going to make sure women get jobs and empower women by providing them with entrepreneur skills. We will establish National Centre for Entrepreneur Skills Development and make sure that all the residents of Malleshwaram get access to this.
Ashwath Narayan C N: Education is the most important factor for the development of an individual. But since women and girls aren’t getting much support to continue their education, I would like to start skill-based education in every school. For the safety of women, we have a Rani Chennamma squad and would like to establish women police stations. To encourage women drivers, we will provide them with incentives.
Aditya RA: I would concentrate on giving jobs to women by conducting job fairs every now and then. Upscale their opportunities by providing them with jobs that are similar to their interests.
The session did not have all candidates together, as the Congress candidate left early and the incumbent came in later.
Video of the debate: https://www.facebook.com/BPACofficial/videos/1815640808456669/?hc_location=ufi