In a packed Town Hall on Sunday, 14th July, citizens conferred the Corporator #1 Awards (Namma Samiti Puraskaara) to 51 BBMP corporators. Justice Santosh Hegde, chief guest at the event, honoured the winners with a traditional Mysuru Petta.
The winners were chosen based on the number of ward committee meetings held in their wards so far – that is, between last December and this June. Corporators who had held two-third of the monthly meetings – that is, at least four – have been conferred the award.
Following are the award winners:
|Muneendra Kumar K A
|Lavanya Ganesh Reddy
|Raja S (Bande Raja)
|A C Hariprasad
|Manjunath Raju G
|R S Satynarayana
|Abdul Rakib Jakhir
|Anand Kumar S
|S G Nagaraj
|S Uday Kumar
|Shwetha Vijay Kumar
|S Sampath Kumar
|S P Hemalatha
|M B Dwarakanath (Dalu)
|C R Lakshmi Narayan
|M Chandrappa Reddy
|K N Lakshmi Nataraj
|Shobha Jagadish Gowda
|Shashirekha Jayaram S
In keeping with the spirit of citizenship, the awards were presented to corporators by active citizens themselves, not celebrities. Eminent civil society members like Kathyayini Chamaraj of CIVIC, urban experts like V Ravichander and Dr Ashwin Mahesh, Geeta Menon of the Domestic Workers’ Collective, RWH evangelist A R Shivakumar, tree doctor Vijay Nishant, cartoonist Paul Fernandes, Brinda Adige who works against trafficking, and many others from RWAs and NGOs gave out the awards. CfB’s own cyclist volunteer Vijay Kundaji, who had recovered from a coma after a gruesome cycling accident, also presented an award.
At the event, Justice Hegde delivered a passionate speech about politics, the spirit of public service, and citizen participation. He said that some had warned him against going to an event that awards politicians, but that it was our collective responsibility to recognise the work of good politicians. He reminded elected representatives that they were public servants and should uphold the values of the Constitution.
Padmanabha Reddy, Opposition Leader in BBMP, said, “We will continue our work with ward committees, as they are excellent forums to address issues. I urge Justice Santosh Hegde and other eminent people in this audience to ensure that funds and functions are given to urban local bodies like the BBMP. We need to strengthen the third tier of governance for better delivery of services, increased accountability and transparency.”
Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun said, “It is wonderful to see citizens appreciating the work of corporators. With citizen partnership and participation, we will make our city overcome the challenges we face everyday. Ward committees are the best places to resolve smaller issues, and local issues must always be resolved locally.”
Vasanti Hariprakash anchored the programme that lasted over three hours. The event included a short film on ward committees, a children’s skit, and a video tribute to Girish Karnad by Prakash Belawadi.
Srinivas Alavilli, Co-founder of CfB, said, “Several winners told us that they feel more accountable to the people after this award, and that’s music to our ears. We hope these awards inspire all 198 corporators to not only hold monthly meetings, but to drastically improve the quality of the meetings. We also hope more citizens come forward and make use of this amazing forum – ward committees. If every ward takes care of its citizens’ needs, and plans its own future, our city will be garden city once again.”
CfB Co-founder Tara Krishnaswamy said, “The expression on the faces of the corporators beaming proudly with their pettas and plaques was priceless – a testament to how much they cherish this citizen appreciation! There are many ways to better Bengaluru. We believe that a pat on the back can boost responsive corporators to do better, and make other corporators realise that citizens do not rate them well.”
CfB thanks all the volunteers who worked selflessly for weeks to put together this unique event that was fully crowd-funded and volunteer-driven. We invite all Bengalureans to start attending ward committee meetings, organise training sessions on ward committees, and become part of governance as intended in our Constitution. Ward committees are a silent revolution, but they can only be successful if all of us embrace them.
[This article is based on a press release from CfB, and has been republished with minor edits.]