The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council election is delayed again, raising a lot of questions over the lack of an elected administrative setup to ensure the city’s equitable development. Several issues related to traffic, water scarcity, damaged roads and other rain-related woes remain unaddressed.
DH takes a deep dive into the issue, interacting with a cross-section of Bengalureans. Charan Aivarnad, a writer, notes that it has been over one-and-half years since the term of the elected council of BBMP ended.
The question of how the civic body remained without citizens’ representatives bothers Bengaluru. “This is a complete violation of the Constitution of India, which after the 74th constitutional amendment, requires the municipal bodies to function as ‘institutions of self-government,’’ he points out.
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The major reasons for the delay in holding the civic body polls are shown as the Covid-19 pandemic, the delimitation of wards, and the court’s awaited decision on the delimitation exercise.
Aivarnad says it does not look like the elections are going to be conducted before the Karnataka 2023 elections. He says, “Bengaluru is facing several issues linked to the city’s rapid expansion. Road fatalities related to potholes are rising. Management of garbage is becoming more complicated.” Once the rain starts, Bengaluru is going to float due to the floods. To address these woes, Bengalureans have no elected representatives from their wards. Delaying the BBMP elections is not only wrong but also inhuman.”
The government has attributed the delay to the delimitation exercise, the reservation of wards and other factors. Renuka Shyamsundar Belamkar, a resident of Kormangala says: “The changes in the reservation system directly affect the election process.”
“A significant change like this causes a lot of shifting and shuffling in the system. But, the delay in elections cannot be justified and delayed further. The Council cannot be merely formed on the basis of ward reservation,” says Renuka.
Rashmi Sinu, who stays at Electronics City, has this to say: “The BBMP is already slower than the sloths in finishing the projects. Now they have got a new reason to be slower. The common people who are suffering due to the slow-moving projects such as the Metro construction, will suffer more. People who had hoped that the functioning of the system will change, stands disappointed. The judiciary should take the final decision to help the common people.”
Diya Benny, an Assistant Professor, adds: “The elected representatives are the citizen’s voice in the government. A metro city like Bengaluru needs a civic body that is strong enough to foresee the future and growth of the city. But, this vacuum is a step back in development.”
“We need elected representatives who are efficient enough to bring the problems of citizens to the government’s notice. But for that, it is critical that they hold the elections soon. It is the only way to ensure smooth governance of the city,” she adds.
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