Possibly for the first time in the electoral history of the BBMP council elections, a candidate has come forward to sign an affidavit that grants the people of her ward the ‘Right to Recall’ if she fails in fulfilling her duties as a Corporator. Nandini Shivkumar, 33, an Independent candidate from Subramanyanagar (Ward 66), has declared that she will step down from her post should she be unable to stop the road widening process on Dr Rajkumar Road (located in west Bangalore) and if she is found waning in her duties.
"I am happy to sign the affidavit and will work for the people. I will gladly resign if the people think that I am not fit enough to represent them", she said before signing the affidavit.
Sunil Dutt Yadav, a local advocate who proposed this idea, said that it becomes necessary for people to demand the signing of an affidavit by the candidates in an election scenario. "Major political parties release manifestos before the elections but fail to fulfill their promises. There is a lack of accountability and once they gain power they don’t hesitate to go back on their words", he said.
The signing of the affidavit, Yadav said, was modeled on the ‘Right to Recall’ law that exists in the western world where ordinary citizens can ask the elected representative to resign from a position in governance if they do not fulfill their promises. "The signing of the affidavit is an open challenge to the other candidates to come forward and sign it too. It is high time that they work with the people and for the people, he added.
Citizens oppose road widening, candidate obliges
The primary demand of Citizen Support Group (CSG) – a collective of the local citizens in the ward – is that the road widening process that began in late 2009 must be stopped and that the proposed idea for a signal-free corridor with six underpasses must be discarded. The group alleges that no scientific research was conducted to determine whether these projects are necessary nor was there any consultation with the citizens. Nagesh, a member of CSG, says, "We are not against progress or development. But, in this case there has been no study to see whether these projects need to be implemented. Moreover, the affected citizens are being compensated with Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) which we simply do not want."
Nandini’s husband, Shivkumar Hosmani, says that the projects exist only to benefit the rich. "Brigade Courtyard is a huge residential enclave where the rich are living. In order to ease their traffic situation, the BBMP does not mind breaking down the houses of citizens who have been living here for decades and accommodating this unfeasible project."
Vinay Sreenivasa, a member of Hasiru Usiru said, "The development happening in the city is without the consent of the people. What matters to the people are being ignored and the focus is on the projects with lots of money involved. The BBMP is ignoring demands like cycle lanes for school children and footpaths instead it is choosing to implement projects that are uncalled for." CSG thinks that the solution to this is to push for implementation of the 74th amendment which recognises ward committees to be brought into legislation. They have asked to pledge that she would help in making ward committees a reality.
"I care for the ward, not politics"
Apart from this, Nandini, who signed the affidavit at a meeting held on Dr Rajkumar Road, said that she was going to focus on other issues as well during her tenure. "I think the people should vote for me because I am a local citizen who cares for her ward and not for politics."
This former school teacher says that she would like to propose the idea of a burial ground for strays and pets. She also plans to install complaint boxes in the locality so that the problems of the people are solved at the earliest.
"I am also committed to the People’s Manifesto (a manifesto brought out by NGOs and other citizens forums after debating on the issues that were of most importance to the city) and will work towards implementing it," she said. ⊕