Do politicians care for cities? No, their votes are from rural areas

'We need a political party exclusively for Bangalore, because national parties like the Congress and the BJP are not bothered about the urban votes,' said Mohandas Pai.

hidden December 03, 2013 07:24:25 IST
Do politicians care for cities? No, their votes are from rural areas

After a CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times survey showed that people in smaller towns  are more satisfied than their counterparts in big metros, panelists at a debate on  CNN-IBN were of the opinion that politicians simply don't give as much to cities as they deserve, because the urban vote is not considered that important.

"We need a political party exclusively for Bangalore, because national parties such as the Congress and the BJP are not bothered about the urban votes," said Mohandas Pai.

Do politicians care for cities No their votes are from rural areas

Representational image. AFP

He added, "Politicians have their bases in rural areas, they are voted by the rural people. Hence they don't pay much attention to urban development."

Shailaja Chandra, former secretary, was also of the opinion that cities suffer because their needs are at odds with those of politicians. "Residents who are at the ward level do not have a say. For politicians it is all about how many more contracts they can give. Pedestrians and cyclists or even controlling traffic is the least of their concerns," she said.

Meanwhile Swati Ramanathan, co-founder of Janagraha, pointed out that there are deeper issues such as money. "New York has a budget of 70 billion USD, London has a budget of 80 billion pounds, but Bombay has a budget of only 4 billion USD."

Chandra also pointed out that Delhi was doing well because it had a city-state structure where the revenues from the city are used for its infrastructure, unlike other cities whose tax money goes to fund development projects for the hinterlands.

Pai added to the argument saying, "Our cities make as much revenues as some countries around the world, but are governed like villages."

Narinder Nayar of Bombay First also pointed out that big cities especially such as  Mumbai have too many organisations dealing with infrastructure. "Governance in a city like Mumbai is a major problem. We have five different organisations that look at the infrastructure; that makes things disorganised."

To this argument, Geetam Tiwari, professor at IIT Delhi, said, " Citizens definitely should have more participation, but it is not the question of money. In Delhi, as soon as you step out of the metro, you see the kind of poor pedestrian structure. It is a question of what is an integral part of our infrastructure."

Meanwhile, Rajesh Mahapatra, Executive Editor of Hindustan Times, also pointed out different wants of different citizens also poses a problem.

"Things changed when the urban voters came into being. The urban voice is not one voice," he said.

Hence, the panelists felt that to understand and fulfill the needs of urban voters there is a dire need of politicians whose vote base is from the city itself.

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