It was quite an uncommon sight on Sunday, when the candidates who will be fighting for the Mahadevpura constituency joined the residents of the area for an open discussion on civic issues. The event was aimed at giving citizens a chance to make an informed choice when it comes to voting for their candidates, based on the candidate’s understanding of local issues and the solutions they proposed.
The event was organised by citizens group Whitefield Rising along with Bangalore Apartment Federation, Bellandur Forum, Belthur Rising, Nallurhalli Rising and ForceGW.
The candidates from Congress, BJP, JD(S), AAP and Swaraj India were present at the discussion to convince voters why they should vote for them.
“The emphasis of today’s discussion is for the voters to understand what is it that you (candidates) are about, what do you stand for and what are you willing to do,” explained moderator V Ravichander, an urban expert, as he commenced the discussion.
Mahadevpura constituency covers almost 100 square kilometres of land and consists of eight wards and 23 villages. It has 34 lakes and is also a hub of IT parks. And the key topicsdiscussed were the main problems of Mahadevpura – traffic and roads, lakes and encroachment, and garbage.
During the discussion, each candidate answered every question posed by the moderator, followed by a Q&A round where the residents directly asked their questions.
Aravind Limbavali, the incumbent MLA of Mahadevpura and the BJP candidate, used his status as a member of the ruling party at the Centre to make promises of a better future for the constituency.
“I will cover the major issues first: traffic, environmental issues and infrastructure. There are a lot of companies here now, and while Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is mandatory, they are spending their money somewhere else. But I will request them to spend their money in the constituency so that we can develop it,” he said.
However, the candidates from Congress and JD(S) were quick to point out that there has been ‘no development’ in Mahadevpura in the last 10 years – a period during which Aravind Limbavali has been the MLA of the constituency.
“For the past 10 years, apartments have been developed but there are no basic facilities,” Congress candidate AC Srinivas said. “I will focus on government schools, footpaths and other necessities with the support of the government,” he promised.
JD(S) candidate Sathish K, too, pointed out that Mahadevpura had not developed in 10 years. “IT companies don’t imply development. How we use our power is important. We have discussed many issues today, I will implement them all,” he promised.
Ramesh Chander, the Swaraj party candidate said, ”By attending all ward meetings and publishing reports to the public, I will ensure transparency.” On corruption and malpractices he said,“As people’s representative, we can question officials, we have the power to do so. I will use that. I will make customer service better.”
Bhasker Prasad, the AAP candidate promised, “I will attend all ward meetings and take in suggestions to the government. Need to be the people’s representative. You have given me requests, I will follow through.”
Questions posed to the candidates were about how they will change the system and make it work, what will be their focus, what will they do about the traffic, garbage and infrastructure. Questions were also asked about lake encroachments, corruption and how will they stop it.
“This event has been in the making for a month and we had been actively working on it for 2-3 weeks. The event was fantastic, we received very good feedback. The moderator kept the candidates on target, made them answer the questions that were asked. And we even controlled the number of audiences and made sure that the audience was important and not the party members,” said ZIbi, a representative of Whitefield Rising.