Manifestos are set to rain on us

We are expected to come alive during election time, cast our vote in the great dance of democracy and then retire for five years till it is time to vote again. It is also a time political parties think it mandatory to release a manifesto that akin to the voter is forgotten soon thereafter. 

Published: 14th March 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2018 09:36 PM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU : We are expected to come alive during election time, cast our vote in the great dance of democracy and then retire for five years till it is time to vote again. It is also a time political parties think it mandatory to release a manifesto that akin to the voter is forgotten soon thereafter. This time, the citizen groups have got off the ground with citizen led manifestos which is a hopeful sign from the streets. The Citizens for Bengaluru released their manifesto last year; the Bengaluru Political Action Committee is facilitating local area manifestos and so are resident welfare groups.  One wishes political parties did more plain speaking in their manifestos. Here’s a honest potential script outline for a party manifesto to Bengaluru voters ahead of the State Election: 

“We know you expect our legislators to fix every pothole and traffic jam in the city. We trust you know that legislators are meant to legislate laws in the Assembly and not fix your local civic problems. For the latter is supposed to be the responsibility of corporators led by a worshipful mayor. It’s another matter that we do not wish to trust them with power, though leaders like Sardar Patel, Bose, Rajendra Prasad and Nehru cut their teeth in corporation politics.

The crowds petitioning the MLA with local complaints and MLAs preference to do the corporators’ job has convinced us that we should release our manifesto of civic promises for you, our currently worship worthy city voter. Subjects like the 74th Constitutional Amendment mandating a proper Metropolitan Planning Committee or focusing on regional governance structures or multiple municipal corporations to better manage Bengaluru tend to be boring and so we shall not go there.

It’s promises to fix the roads, traffic, water, flooding, pollution, sewerage, garbage, housing and lakes that you like to hear, and they are being made. The way we will do this if we come to power is run the projects out of the State’s budget thus ensuring that local city government remains stunted!”Its not surprising that release of manifestos are a photo opportunity that’s quickly forgotten. Citizens are cynical about any meaningful outcomes and do not care to hold the winning party accountable to deliver on it. With increasing citizen awareness and citizen participation in setting out manifesto expectations, there is a sliver of hope that manifestos going forward become the credible yardstick to evaluate political performance. 

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