Fed up with the lack of civic amenities in their neighbourhood, a group of the city’s residents have geared up to engage with politics in the upcoming BBMP polls. Whitefield Rising - a group of individuals have gathered together to solve and address different forms of civic issues that plague the IT company-dominated area of Whitefield. With BBMP election to be held on July 28, volunteers are approaching political parties urging them to pitch “best” candidates for their wards. Co-founder Nitya Ramakrishnan and her team at Whitefield Rising (WR) are focusing on getting good and hard-working candidates for 8 wards (of the total 15) who will address the issues faced by the residents in Mahadevapura zone. A former IT professional herself, she claims that in terms of contribution of revenue per head in the economy, Mahadevapura zone is the “highest in the country”. Yet, the area lacks basic infrastructure, she says. Explaining further, she cites a report by city-based NGO Janaagraha who prepared a “Ward Quality Score” report in 2013 which ranked each of the 198 wards based on the quality of infrastructure and services available to residents in each area. Two of the wards – Hagadur and Kadugodi in Mahadevapura zone were ranked as low as 190 and 196 respectively. “When we are contributing so much to the economy, don’t we at least deserve proper infrastructure?” she asks. Though the responsibility of ensuring proper execution of civic tasks rests on BBMP and its officials, yet, residents are often running around to ensure that the work is carried out sequentially to prevent unnecessary delays and damage, says Nitya. Secondly, the zone has seen a lot of influx of migrants due to the presence of several IT companies. Hence WR is getting locals to register as residents of the ward so that they can exercise their vote. They have even organised a few camps to enroll them into the voters’ list. “People need to understand that Modi will not solve local garbage problems or water issues. It is the local councillor who has a day to day understanding and can have an impact in the development of the area. Which is precisely why BBMP elections are as crucial as the Lok Sabha elections,” Nitya says. She adds that people who were frustrated are now realising that local body elections do matter. The group, Nitya says has received good response to the awareness drives and campaigns that they are carrying out. Since Bengaluru is an IT hub and most residents in these wards are employees in IT companies; WR is making full use of digital communication. E-mail, Facebook, WhatsApp are their tools in creating awareness, apart from the campaign they carry out from apartment to apartment. The group is meeting various political parties and convincing them to put forward candidates with no criminal record and those with an action plan for the ward. “We are not in favour or against political parties, we will ask people to focus on the candidate alone,” she clarifies.
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