"Women are more available and more transparent than the men," said Kathyayini Chamaraj, Secretary of Shanthinagar Residents Development Association (SHRED). With BBMP council elections just round the corner, residents of Shanthinagar (Ward 117) assembled to meet with the candidates contesting from their ward.
SHRED, in association with Citizens Welfare Association of Richard Town and Langford Town organised this programme.
Col. Fredrick D’souza, President of SHRED said that garbage, road and stray dogs are the major problems of this area.
Kathyayini echoed the expectations of the ward. She said that the ward communities should meet at a public place every month. Planning, and more importantly, auditing of the funds was expected from these meetings. "We are lucky that ten women are running for this election. None of them has any criminal record", she added.
All the candidates seemed to be in agreement about the responsibilities and duties expected from them.
The candidates were given a set of questions to answer. Each of them asserted that their endeavours would be manifestations of complete transparency. There will be a book, which will show the funds allocated and spent, they said.
Among the candidates present, C Rathna of National Congress Party, refused to speak saying her husband would speak instead of her. The audience refused to allow this. This candidate did not speak throughout the debate, despite remaining on stage.
Jayanthi G, the JD(S) candidate said that she has been in the party for seven years. "I will consult all the people. I will try to solve the problem of encroachment. I will work towards a corruption-free place," she said.
Leela G, an independent candidate said that she would do whatever is decided in the often-held meeting. "I will give you all the details of the budget".
The residents, on their part, were hopeful that their grievances would soon be heard. "Transparency is what we want. Usually after the election, the big political leaders intervene and matters tend to go out of hand," said Sumitha, a resident of this ward. She said that usually the budget allocated is not huge, thus the priorities should be set. The residents hope that the women who have come forward would be able to maintain the situation. "Usually the man in the household rules. We do not want that to happen over here," said Sumitha.
Seema Khanum, another independent candidate said that civic amenities and education are her main targets.
The candidates were all affirmative that it is the ‘people’ who play an important role and promised to involve them in the decision-making. "We give ideas, we also need a feedback. We need to know what is to be done, and what not to be done. We are not doing business," added Khanum.
Thanks for covering this event. I would just like to add that all nine women contestants out of ten (one contestant is not campaigning) appeared for the debate, although at different times. But a majority of them sat for almost one hour and listened to the speeches of all other contestants and stayed on for the interaction. Ms Sowmya of the Congress party came after the others left at 6.55 PM and stayed and interacted with citizens till 7.30 PM. Around 85 citizens attended the interaction.
And just two small corrections. The President of SHRED is Col. Fredrick D’Sa and not D’Souza and the Citizens’ Welfare Association is of Richmond Town and Langford Town and not Richards Town.