First crowd-sourced citizens’ manifesto released

It is the outcome of the #BekuBedaSanthe held at Freedom Park on October 15

December 12, 2017 09:18 pm | Updated December 13, 2017 06:20 pm IST

 Students hold placards stating their demands before the release of the citizens’ manifesto by freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, at St. Joseph's College on Langford Road, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Students hold placards stating their demands before the release of the citizens’ manifesto by freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, at St. Joseph's College on Langford Road, in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Cutting across party lines and class divisions, Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) and other groups, on Tuesday, released Bengaluru’s manifesto — the first to be crowdsourced by voters. From traffic and roads to pollution and garbage management as well as the need for planners to be inclusive while framing policy, the manifesto covers all aspects of the city.

Tara Krishnaswamy from CfB said that more than 1,500 citizens from all walks of life participated and cast their votes during the #BekuBedaSanthe held at Freedom Park on October 15, for what they wanted and what they did not want from the city administration. “The objective was to set the agenda for our city through a bottom up and inclusive, open public forum. Subsequently, our volunteers worked on categorising and consolidating the thousands of demands into a short list — #BekuBedaSanthe Citizens’ Manifesto for Bengaluru,” said Ms. Krishnaswamy.

After releasing the citizens’ manifesto on Tuesday, freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy urged all political parties to work towards restoring the past glory of the city. Stating that ‘development’ is suffocating the city, he caustically remarked that political parties must give gas masks to all citizens. “The issues listed in the citizens’ manifesto are eternal problems. It will bode well for the parties to focus on these issues and find permanent solutions to at least some,” he said.

Children from Association for Promoting Social Action and Jwalamukhi, non-governmental organisations, urged political parties to prioritise playgrounds to promote sports, safe roads and cycling lanes.

Dinesh Gundu Rao, Gandhinagar MLA and working president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, while admitting that all important issues were addressed in the citizens’ manifesto, said Bengaluru is the engine driving Karnataka. “The more we focus on Bengaluru, the better for Karnataka.” He admitted that the manifesto had, for the first time, become a very important document. “The Congress has taken the pre-poll manifesto very seriously. The State government has delivered on 90% of the promises made in the manifesto,” he said and added that the KPCC had formed a committee headed by MP M. Veerappa Moily to draft the manifesto. He also said that three parks, similar to Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, would be developed on the encroached lands that have been recovered.

Malleswaram MLA C.N. Ashwath Narayan (BJP) stated that the need of the hour is a practical approach to solve the problems. To empower citizens, details of road history, property tax and other revenue must be available in the public domain. The BJP would prioritise public transport, education, healthcare and sanitation, he said and added that he would apprise the party’s manifesto drafting committee about the demands in the citizens’ manifesto.

Tanveer Ahmed of the Janata Dal (Secular) admitted that most manifestos are formed to ‘please the citizens’. With awakened citizenry, politicians will now be held accountable for the promises and assurances. “At the end of the day, there is only one person who all politicians are scared of... a clean citizen,” he said.

Srinivas Alavilli of Citizens for Bengaluru said, “We will submit our demands to each party. Our goal is change the narrative of elections, bring about a change in mindset and hold parties accountable, whoever wins.”

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