Say they will opt for NOTA if contestants do not sign their charter of demands

Urban poor from various slums have come together in a new initiative and decided to present a 32-point charter of demands to contesting candidates, asking them to come back to them every three months after getting elected. They will exercise the ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option if the contesting candidates do not sign the charter.

Dwellers of more than 30 poor localities, most of them women, gathered at the Gandhi statue near the GVMC at a meeting organised by the Campaign for Housing and Tenurial Rights (CHATRI) and the ARTD (Urban), and took a pledge not to accept money, liquor, and sarees for votes. They also vowed to press for allocation of 40 per cent of funds to urban slums, oppose shifting or removal of slums, and exercise NOTA option if their concerns were not addressed.

Addressing them, former Union Energy Secretary E.A.S. Sarma said several rights like allotment of housing of 10-15 per cent to the poor and giving them tenurial rights were not followed, and they were being shifted to the outskirts without concern for livelihood or health, and education facilities. He questioned the propriety of shifting dwellers of MSN Colony soon after giving them voter identity cards.

With margins in election victories getting thinner, their votes were enough to decide the fate of a nominee, Mr. Sarma told them. Also, they should assert their right as masters and elected representatives were their servants, who could not take everything for granted living in comfort.

‘Stay united’

They only needed to stay united and should not allow political parties to split their votes, he told them.

Service providers

Underling their role as service providers running the city, he said the consequences of not fulfilling their assurances should be made known to the elected representatives by exposing how they went back on their word.

Pragada Vasu and Jyotirmayi of ARTD, P. Sirisha of Green Climate Women Team, B.D. Saraiah of Praja Nastika Samajam, and Kuna Ramam of Sanjivani Paryavarana Parirakshana Sangham were present.

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