Activism to impact political parties in Bengaluru

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on April 16, 2019

Electoral politics in Bengaluru — the tech city that contributes around $50 billion or 40 per cent of India’s total IT exports — is increasingly being shaped by citizen activism.

The city has three urban Parliamentary constituencies — Bangalore North, Bangalore Central, Bangalore South, and one semi-urban constituency — Bangalore Rural.

In the last two decades, citizen activism has percolated to all levels of political discourse and governance, be it the civic body (BBMP), the State Assembly or Parliament.

The large-scale migration experienced by the city in the last two decades has led to the crumbling of civic infrastructure. The citizens’ involvement has changed electoral politics in the city with numerous agitations — ‘Steel Bridge Beda’, ‘Circular Railu Beku’, ‘Footpath Beku’, ‘Save Trees’, ‘Save Lakes’, especially the Bellandur lake.

The organisations heading the activism are ‘Whitefield Rising’ and ‘Citizens for Bengaluru’ which have taken the discourse from social media to the streets. In fact, the previous government scrapped the steel flyover proposal just before the Assembly elections.

‘A positive effect’

In the absence of vote-bank politics in the city, the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) is playing a pivotal role in the formulation or shaping public policies, especially garbage clearance, traffic regulation and regulation of commercial spaces in residential layouts.

Rekha Chari, former president, Malleswaram Swabhimana Initiative (MSI) said, “Citizen activism in Bengaluru is on the rise and impacting the city in a positive way. We interact regularly with our elected representatives, be it the MLA, corporator or MPs, to get our problems solved.

“We had come out with a citizen manifesto during the Assembly election and, today, many parties and candidates have included points from that,” she added.

Candidates now are relying on the performance and popularity of local corporators and MLAs. In the 2018 Assembly election, the city witnessed a shift of urban votes to the Congress, which has worried the BJP.

Published on April 16, 2019

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