Given the profiles of the 378 contestants, a majority of whom are first timers, the voters appear disillusioned

Is the 58-member council of the Belgaum City Corporation going to be any different this time? That is the question before residents of the city, who are all set to cast their votes on March 7.

Given the profiles of the 378 contestants, a majority of whom are first timers, the voters appear disillusioned.

“I don’t even want to go to the polling booth as none of the contestants in my ward are worthy enough to be elected.

“We have little options,” said a resident of Ward No. 40. “We rejected a candidate last time because of his irresponsible behaviour, but his wife is in the fray now,” he added. He observed that many young politicians, whose electoral prospects had been affected by reservation, had fielded their spouses or relatives.

Linguistic factor

Given that elections to the BCC council have always been fought on linguistic lines between Marathi- and Kannada-speaking communities, with the latter enjoying the support of Urdu-speaking members, the profiles of candidates do not seem to be of much concern for leaders of these two camps. This is because of the fact that elections to the BCC council are viewed in the context of border disputes, particularly over the demand for transfer of Belgaum to Maharashtra.

The Marathi group views a victory as a popular assertion in support of their demand for the transfer of Belgaum to Maharashtra.

The Kannada group, which would not have established a majority without the support of the Urdu and breakaway groups from the Marathi camp, is keen to negate the Marathi stratagem.

Although the fate of Belgaum city and other towns and villages in the border areas is still before the Supreme Court, the Marathi group wants to prove that the city is still dominated by the section, and an electoral victory would only strengthen its case

Mini-marathon

Several youths, including students and persons with disabilities, who wish to see a council that is committed to the development of the city and not working for serving its self-interests or linguistic or communal agendas, on Sunday came together under the banners of Belgaum I Care, Belgaum Buzz and Belgaum Next with the appeal “Choose your leader: beyond communal and linguistic difference”. They organised a mini-marathon to spread the message.

The youth of Belgaum expect a change. We are aware and have witnessed how linguistic and communal issues have marred the growth of the cityIt was disgraceful to see the corporation superseded; did that help improve the infrastructure and civic amenities, they asked.

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