Bangalore is “in the grip of land, water and garbage mafia”, resulting in ordinary citizens being denied basic amenities, according to Aam Admi Party (AAP) candidate from Bangalore North Babu Mathew.

Speaking at an interaction with the press here on Tuesday, he said that resources were being gobbled up in the guise of public-private-partnerships.

The AAP believed in law-making from the grassroots level and it was therefore important to empower resident welfare associations in cities, with mohallas committees playing a crucial role, he said. Mr. Mathew said it was necessary to plan the development of towns as well as the countryside in a comprehensive manner, rather than treat them as unrelated units.

AAP candidate from Bangalore Rural Ravikrishna Reddy and Chickballapur candidate K. Arkesh said that depletion in the water table and acute shortage of drinking water was a huge crisis in both constituencies.

“It is a shame to sell drinking water,” said Mr. Reddy, adding that encroachments had killed lakes in his constituency. Mr. Arakesh said that a huge mafia of middlemen had emerged around Bangalore, who bought land from poor farmers and sold them to businessmen.

Bangalore South candidate Nina P. Nayak said a movement such as the AAP should have started at least 30 years ago. “I have come into elections to show that politics is not a bad word,” she said.

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