meeting with candidates with BPAC – on the campaign trail -2

AAP, BJP, JDS &Cong candidates of bangalore central lok sabha constituency
AAP, BJP, JDS &Cong candidates of bangalore central lok sabha constituency

Sunday morning and about 300 people turned up at the new altar of BPAC whose grandmasters decided, after the debacle of the Bangalore South debate, to display some toughness of their own.

This time, the debate of the four major parties was not wholly public. Details were circulated among a chosen few who had to display their invites and photo IDs to get in to the hall. Dozens of vigilant volunteers had diligent plans from entry to seating and everything went off like clockwork.

Candidates were asked four questions in turns and had four minutes each to answer them. Audience questions were pooled and read out at the end, with no room for slanging matches. At one point when BJP’s PC Mohan and Congress’s Rizwan Arshad locked horns, K Jairaj, former bureaucrat and one of BPAC’s big daddies, went so far as to order that their microphones be muted!

Why do they consider themselves good candidates, what do they offer and what is their vision for Bangalore were the broad themes addressed by the candidates. The incumbent MP Mohan claimed that he had worked to get the metro, and to add bus stations, to increase water supply and to upgrade the railway station.

Nandini Alva introduced a curious new term – essential Bangalorean, and spoke more in general terms. Bala made hard-hitting points about the fact that the Parliamentary elections having become centred on municipal issues as the local bodies had failed to deliver. To applause from the audience,he promised to press for the swaraj model to empower local wards, better implementation of law and honest governance.

Young Rizwan’s speech was constantly interrupted by spontaneous bursts of applause from the audience, who did not baulk at Jairaj’s remonstrations to restrain themselves. Rizwan had an answer for everything: like the others, he too wants a cleaner, safer city with less traffic. He would implement his own ideas, as well as the good ideas of his opponents.About corruption, he said that the Congress had to be given credit for The Right to Information Act which led to exposure of scams. He also took pride in the Aadhaar project which had enabled timely delivery of benefits to people. As this was not a homogeneous constituency, he would create a Vision Group for this constituency to come out with specific solutions for different areas.

Verdict: Both Bala and Rizwan made convincing statements; Mohan was defensive, Alva on a different wave length. If votes were counted on the rounds and decibel today, we would have to give it to the Congress.


Author: sandhya mendonca

outpouring of occasional whimsies

4 thoughts on “meeting with candidates with BPAC – on the campaign trail -2”

  1. i agree, the ground reality may be different. but these debates/discussions are much much better and far more sensible than standing on a van and showing off your arm pits. i was just mentioning to a friend some days back… my childhood memories of election canvasing used to be autos blaring out ‘bharatiya janatha party ge nimma matha, ee idi deshakke hitha!’. given that my childhood memories go back many decades, nothing has changed even today 😉 these are the kind of discussions that will give me a feeling that we are maturing as a democracy, despite the same old candidates!

  2. How does such a sanitized meeting help? Isn’t the street/ ground reality different?
    B.PAC: I agree that such meetings should ideally be held in an open format. The citizens are ready for a civilized debate but our political cadres are yet not mature enough to deal with a political discourse that has diverse points of view.It is better to have a debate in a controlled environment rather than have debates aborted leading to mayhem and chaos. When political parties are ready for a mature discourse we will open it up.The meeting was telecast online as well, so people who could not attend could watch it online.The discussions were good and constructive and citizens could understand their candidates better . This will help them make informed choices.
    We have also been quite welcoming of citizens genuinely interested in a discussion to attend by giving them passes.

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