For the upcoming Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections, voters have shown their penchant for real issues rather than foreign issues. In a recent city politics survey conducted by the Janaagraha Center for Citizenship and Democracy, it was found that 89% of voters in Bengaluru are concerned about environmental challenges and climate change. However, only 25% believe that elected officials give the importance they deserve to environmental issues. The survey was conducted to gauge public opinion on Indigenous governance.
The investigative report also reveals that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai are household names. Yet only two in 10 voters remember the name of the city’s last mayor. As a result, voters are knocking on the door of their Member of the Legislative Assembly, MAL, to solve a problem rather than going to their ward councilors. The survey was conducted in 27 neighborhoods across eight zones in Bangalore.
Concerns of the urban poor
The survey report says the urban poor are struggling to access water and the middle and upper classes bemoan the traffic. Besides climate and environmental issues, voters are also concerned about management and garbage, and traffic in the city. Many believe that these problems are real and that the next local body elections should be conducted on the basis of these problems.
Sapna Karim of Janaagraha said: “Although a large percentage of citizens and voters in Bengaluru may not fully understand the nature of ward level governance, it is clear that their expectations of of the BBMP and the new council that will be formed are to ensure there are walkable paths, clean neighborhoods, an efficient commute, access to clean water, and a focus on mitigating the negative impact on the climate and the environment, among other civic issues.”
Candidates for election to become a local neighborhood representative must be capable enough to provide better services and improved neighborhood infrastructure. Due to the hazy history of development at the local level, half of the voters in Bengaluru do not recognize the ‘ward’ as a unit of governance and development. Interestingly, 86% of new BBMP voters in Bengaluru have strongly expressed their intention to vote in the upcoming BBMP elections. This underlines the interest of young people today to participate in the Aboriginal election.
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