After a long day of debates between candidates from Bangalore South and Bangalore North it was now Bangalore Central candidates’ turn to answer the public’s queries. The candidates looked tired at the end of a long day of campaigning.
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The event organised by Smart Vote and News9 on 14th April, at Sathya Sai Samskrutha Sadan, Koramangala, brought all candidates contesting for Bangalore Central on one dias. Candidates present included Dr HT Sangliana (INC), Vijay Raja Singh (BSP ), K Uma (SUCI), JD Elangovan (Indian Justice Party), Vijaya Bhaskar N (Independent). PC Mohan (BJP) and Zameer Ahmed (JDS) were absent.
The session started around 5.30 PM with the first round where all the candidates appealed for votes in a given two minute’s time.
Dr HT Sangliana spoke first where he pointed that experience is an essential element to understand the people. He said, "A fresher cannot be eligible to guide the citizens." He asked everyone to vote for him considering his experiences in his earlier career (as a police officer and a member of the defence committee) and in politics. All the other candidates present in the debate were either first timers or candidates who have not won till date.
His appeal was countered by BSP candidate Vijay Raja Singh, a young first timer. Singh said, "Our parliament is old and needs young people to take it forward. It is the time for a change."He also said that he would like to have more educated young people in Central Bangalore, like in Bangalore South which he felt has more ‘educated and elite’ population. He claimed that he will be the most accountable politician.
He was followed by K Uma who believed that the focus should be on more serious issues like the fiscal policies, education policies and womens agenda instead of only concentrating on roads and power. She claimed that she would start a movement to solve all problems.
The next candidate was Vijaya Bhaskar N, ex-Managing Director of KPTCL, contesting as an independent. His election agenda is to focus on improving the municipal corporation which will eventually lead to a better city.
JD Elangovan who spoke next talked about his ideals and asked people to vote for him because he plans to make things work and not just talk about them.
Soon after the initial introduction, the forum was open for questions from the audience. The first question was for Sangliana from an RTI activist who wanted to know how the RTI Act can get more teeth. Sangliana did not give a concrete answer. He explained how the RTI act was an important tool to uncover corruption. The other candidates on the dias chanted the same tune. Bhaskar added that the act should have a provision, if answers are not given in the required time, a criminal case should be filed against the respective authority.
The session continued with the next question where the candidates were asked how would they deal with the deteriorating environment. None of them spoke about policies or the measures they would take to solve the problem. The candidates said BBMP has “become a garbage” in itself. They felt people do not realise that the city should be kept clean.
Just after this, a gentleman from the audience asked Sangliana what he would do about police reforms. Sangliana promised to ensure the reforms are implemented.
On the topic of moral policing and attacks against women in the state, Singh (BSP) voiced out how he deeply regrets those incidents and therefore he wants a woman as the Prime Minister of the country to ensure that women in the country are free and safe. He also mentioned that how, because of Mayawati’s rule in Uttar Pradesh, the number of rapes has come down.
While all the other candidates were sniggered at this, the audience booed. Elangovan interrupted and said that nobody has any right to enforce their moral values on anybody and therefore there is no need for a moral police.
The question about the deadline of 11.30 PM for pubs in Bangalore came up and all candidates were fine with extending the deadline but wanted the people to be self disciplined in return.
Sangliana was asked about his changing parties (he changed from BJP to Congress this year). He replied that it was based on ideological differences and he would stand by his ideologies first and then for the party.
For most questions the candidates either gave evasive answers or did not answer the question at all. They kept giving examples of the present scenario. Some important questions on infrastructure policies, improvements and governance were dismissed by the candidates with convoluted responses. No candidate spoke about his/her policies. One could observe the audience laughing and booing frequently.
At the end when the anchor asked the audience if the candidates had responded convincingly, there was a loud ‘no’ from the audience. Due to shortage of time, a lot of questions remained unanswered and the audience was left unsatisfied. However, it was a laudable attempt by the organisers to understand what the candidates stand for. Such debates can help voters realise the capability or the lack of it, in their candidates.
The debates will be aired on News9 from Friday to Sunday, 6 PM onwards. ⊕