It was a campaign time for Nandini Alva in our community. She started by describing herself as someone from Allahabad but married to a Mangalorian. Her husband was late Dr Jeevraj Alva, a politician. She was familiar with politics as she had helped in his nine election bids. She also mentioned that this constituency has 40 lakh people from 38 castes. And I thought here was another politician who has come to play dynastic and caste politics with us.
After a thankfully short speech, she started Question and Answer session.
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On the SEZ construction on Bellundar lake, she gave a lot of background on why things were not planned properly and a bit of blame game too. And the need for decentralization. Asked point blank, she said that builder could be compensated and even if constructed, it could be demolished. But this requires political will.
She spoke on water-related issues. According to her, we should be focusing on bringing Hemavathy down rather than trying to bring Cauvery up. North and North-East Bangalore could be covered. That would automatically bring down need for Cauvery water there and provide it to other areas. According to her, we already have too high population and all projects should be stopped for five years. Mandya could be made a satellite town just like New Jersey is for New York. she claimed a lot of land was available there, which was anyway rendered waste for agriculture due to our waste water.
Her top three priorities were these:
1. Urban forestry: Pollution, low oxygen and rainwater harvesting – all three tackled together. Plus urban aesthetics.
2. Urban slums and poverty alleviation: Neelsandra is the second largest slum in Asia. We can’t give them wealth but we can give at least dignity. 8000 crore available for poverty alleviation but no one has made demands to try and use these funds.
3. Public transport: Roads, pollution, safety.
She also spoke on why she chose to join politics now, and why JDS. Politics was her husband’s work but she supported him. After his death, she had to be the breadearner and take care for her kids. She could have chosen to join any NGO or be an activist, but she chose to join the system to change it from within. She said it was better to be a big fish in small pond rather than small fish in big pond.
She made a good case for regional parties – they will focus on your issues. Even MPs of small parties can be part of committees and can be part of change. Janata Dal was built in 1970s with great idealism during JP Narayan’s time and her husband was founding member here. JD(S), an offshoot of Janata Dal, will align with federal front if they win.
She was all-praise for Anna Hazare and Kejriwal that they made people like her believe they have to be the change. She also supported Rahul Gandhi’s idea that there should be primaries at every level. She was polite and nice to AAP supporter Aditi. She came across as someone hard working, honest and very very likable. I felt her vision was for a city that’s nicer and livable rather than a crazy modern cityscape.