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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, B S Satyanarayana, Raghavendra Auradkar and other launching the BCLIP. Pic courtesy: BPAC
Even as the wannabe corporators were waiting for their incubation programme to begin, the main function hall at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Race Course Road, Bengaluru was filled with excitement. Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC, set up by like-minded people interested in better governance for Bengaluru, was all set to launch its ambitious programme Bangalore Civic Leadership Incubation Programme (BCLIP). The programme aims to train potential candidates for local government elections.
Mayor B S Satyanarayana, Mayor, Deputy Mayor Indiramma and Raghavendra Auradkar, Police Commissioner, Bangalore city. Kiran Shaw, President, BPAC, Jairaj K, Secretary, BPAC, and Nitin Pai, co-founder, Takshashila Institution were present. After the inaugural, the gathering paid a tribute to Nelson Mandela.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, President, BPAC, who spoke later, advised everyone not to be an armchair critic, but to participate actively to bring in a change. “Government has a huge challenge. Planning process is weak. Our cities are not planned for the future. So political debate today is about better governance, with the participation of citizens and the government,” she added.
Explaining that the young generation doesn’t lack ideas, she gave the examples of a couple of candidates who spoke about better finance management process and decentralisation. ”We want to use this (BCLIP) model as a template for the entire country,” she added.
Mayor pleads helplessness
Mayor Katte Satyanarayana spoke about the challenges in governing the city. Explaining the difficulty the BBMP is facing in cleaning K R Market, he said that, for nine weeks, he has been visiting the market on Mondays and supervising the cleaning process. He shared ideas of having a cultural hub on the second floor of the market, and hoped that the currently vacant space will be best-utilised after the implementation of this plan. He observed that educated people, who work in various IT/BT companies sometimes don’t teach their own children where to throw garbage. This apathy has multiplied the problems, he added.
The Mayor said he was thinking about outsourcing the property identification process, especially in Mahadevpura, Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Bommanahalli. He said the help of BESCOM might be sought for this, in later stages. However, this is just a thought which will be discussed in the coming days with the Commissioner, he added. He explained the BBMP’s effort in trying to mobilise funds and the helplessness because of lack of funds.
Mayor said with the help of local RWAs and corporates, neighbourhood lakes, parks and government schools could be developed. He cited the example of the school in Srirampuram run by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and BBMP. (Click here to read more about this school.) Deputy Mayor Indiramma too spoke about the challenges a woman faces and the need to overcome constraints to achieve a higher objective.
The Mayor had a simple formula for becoming a leader. “Put a banner in your name, announcing that you will conduct voter enrollment camps, and place your number on the banner. Everybody will start calling you, and automatically your popularity will rise and you will become a leader.” Those who could read between his lines applauded while many others were seen laughing in bewilderment.
More counselling centres for women: Police Commissioner
Raghavendra Auradkar, Commissioner of Police, spoke about making the city safer for women. He explained the difficulties faced by the police, and revealed the plan to revive the Neighbourhood Watch programme, and include women’s safety, with the help of community policing. “If an area becomes safe for women, it ultimately implies safety for everyone,” he added.
He spoke about decentralising counselling centres for women. Presently the women’s counselling centre operates only in the Police Commissioner’s office. Auradkar invited NGOs and RWAs interested, to open such counselling centres in all parts of Bangalore, and offered to help them with the required support.
He requested the Mayor to keep in mind the capacity of radial roads and parking facilities while planning infrastructural facilities or new ventures in the city. “I hope the BCLIP programme will be successful in clipping the wings of misgovernance,” he added before ending his speech.
Mohandas Pai, Vice-president, BPAC, spoke passionately on the need to have grassroots-level leaders. In the present system, leaders don’t have the knowledge on what to do. World over, there had been great leaders who were mayors when they began their political career. Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel too were mayors. However, in Bangalore, the mayor is entirely powerless, with a term of one year, hence, “we want five years’ term for the mayor,” he added.
‘Why will they not be corrupt?’
Later, in an informal address to the candidates, ex-IIMB Professor Rajeev Gowda explained his foray into politics, after getting foreign education in Public Policy and serving as a professor in IIMB.
RK Misra, founder of Navbharat political party, drew the attention of the audience towards a few deep-rooted problems in the current political system. Some of the politicians who get into politics by default because of familial political affiliations are generally not well-read, and wouldn’t have earned any money legally by working as employees. They only learn to spend, and get into politics by default without doing anything for the society. In such situations, “why will they not become corrupt?” he asked. He also criticised the way mainline political parties choose their candidates.
In a nutshell, it was an amalgamation of all positive forces who want to change the city for better, irrespective of their political affiliations and views.
What is BCLIP?
Sridhar Pabbisetty, Chief Programme Officer, BPAC, explained the programme in detail. He explained that BPAC has a six-point agenda that aims to have a pro-people politics in Bangalore. Governance, finance mobilisation for local bodies and accountability feature prominently in the agenda.
Nitin Pai, co-founder of Takshashila Institution, who are the knowledge partners for the programme, explained the course in detail. BCLIP aims to train future leaders in local, grassroots level. The programme is divided into two phases. First phase is theory, in which the candidates are given weekly sessions and reading materials, and are given the required basic knowledge about city governance and administration. At the end of the theory phase, candidates will have to complete the given assignments including identifying ward boundaries, issues and preparing an action plan to solve the problems.
It was made clear to all the candidates that those who don’t pass the theory phase won’t be promoted to the practical phase by the BPAC. They were also told to leave behind their political affiliations outside the class and take part in the course with an open mind.