With all the 3 main players in the polls – Congress, BJP, JD-S busy sorting out domestic issues of ticket distribution, the poll time rhetoric strangely has hit an eerie silence. Even the media has been quite content playing an observer role in stark contrast to its activism during the Gujarat assembly polls.

To stir the political debate, Offstumped is making a radical proposition.

For long now the infrastructure woes and the urban chaos in Bangalore have been a matter of public debate. If the Bangalore versus Karnataka debate saw an over zealous S.M. Krishna lose an election it also saw an unseemly controversy that had the Darth Vader of Karnataka politics, Deve Gowda doing a hit job on Infosys Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy. Ultimately it was the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Project that saw the JD-S making unreasonable demands of its coalition partners.

The unseemly politics over the urban-rural debate have ensured many a initiative die a premature death. This story in the Business Standard explains why the state of Bangalore’s civic body, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), provides an object lesson on how not to run a city.  From missed milestones in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), to the premature death of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force, the urban slide of Bangalore is a sad commentary of missed opportunities and delinquent leadership.

In fact what little out of the box thinking has happened in Bangalore was from outside of the government with Bangalore citizens, Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani and the NGO Janaagraha’s founder Ramesh Ramanathan playing a key role.

Hence this radical proposal from Offstumped.

For far too long Civic Urban Governance in Bangalore has been held hostage by the bureaucrats and State politicians operating out of Vidhan Soudha. It is time Bangalore was freed from the control of the State Government and granted autonomy to chart its own destiny.

Urban Governance in Bangalore demands that infrastructure development and civic services not be held hostage to state politics. This can only happen when the local government is the direct beneficiary of tax revenues and is directly accountable to the people for civic services, law enforcement and urban planning. This is also the best practice the world over, little wonder the New York City Mayor’s job is considered the second toughest next only to the U.S President.

Hence this call to action from Offstumped to the BJP, to put its promise of Minimum Government Maximum Governance to practice and promise to bring legislation that will give full autonomy to the BBMP to run Bangalore independent of the bureaucracy of Karnataka while being directly accountable to the people of Bangalore for all urban civic and law enforcement services.

Is the BJP up to this challenge ?

Offstumped is written by Yossarin from the Indian National Interest

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