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Will BJP repay the Bangalore voter?
Vicky Nanjappa
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May 26, 2008 11:01 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in the Karnataka assembly elections can be attributed to the voters in Bangalore, who helped the BJP bag 17 out of the 28 seats in the city -- thus pushing their tally up by 15 seats when compared to the 2004 elections.

BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa had told prior to the elections that he had chalked out a separate plan for Bangalore and the rest of the state.

The BJP was well aware that the Bangalore voter will make a difference and keeping this in mind, the party came out with a separate manifesto for Bangalore and the rest of the state.

What Bangaloreans can expect?
The BJP promises to make Bangalore into a model city. During the election campaign, the most popular slogan was, "vote BJP and save Bangalore."

Just look at this city and how the parties have ruined it in the past, Yeddyurappa says.

It is time for us to focus on the betterment of the city and ensure that the residents live a peaceful life, he adds.

In the first phase, the BJP plans to draw up a plan to solve the traffic woes in the city, which is considered to be the worst-managed in Asia. Second on the list would be to provide better drainage systems and water supply -- a problem that has been haunting the city since time immemorial.

Bangalore and the IT industry have become synonymous with each other. The BJP is aware that under no circumstance can this sector be ignored.

A major woe of this sector was that despite paying such heavy taxes, infrastructure in Bangalore was just not up to the mark. Several firms had even threatened to leave Bangalore and invest elsewhere as the government was not fulfilling its promise of improving the infrastructure in the city.

The Electronic City, where a major chunk of the IT companies are housed, is the worst affected thanks to the mismanagement of traffic. Travel time consumes at least four hours of their day before their reach their homes and offices.

The BJP on its part has promised to complete the elevated highway project connecting Electronic City at a record speed so that the traffic problems are sorted out to a large extent. Another factor worrying the IT sector is the closure of the HAL airport. They lament that travelling to the Devanahalli airport is just not feasible as it consumes almost three hours of their time.

The BJP has promised to sort out this problem and points out that Bangalore definitely needs two airports. Yeddyurappa says that steps will be taken to keep both airports open. However, it is to be seen how they work out a solution considering that the Karnataka High Court has left this to the discretion of the state government and the Bangalore International Airport Ltd -- the implementers of the new airport project.

The power problem in Bangalore is another issue to be addressed. Bangalore does not have power cuts at the moment as it accounts for nearly 45 per cent of the revenue generated by the state.

As a result of this, load shedding is excessive in other parts of the state. One of the major problems is that Bangalore depends on power from the rest of the state and does not have its own power generation plant. The BJP says it would set up a power generation plant exclusively for Bangalore city

Another promise that the BJP has made is decentralization of the administration. By doing so the party feels it could ensure the participation of citizens. The citizens would be involved in developmental programmes for the betterment of the city.

Review of the Capital Value System and introduction of a people friendly tax system, e-governance, direct elections to the post of Mayor, improvement of living standards in urban areas which is expected to go up from 35 to 45 per cent by 2020 and encouraging NRIs to invest in Bangalore are all part of the Bangalore promise by the BJP.

From an IT city to a world class city is the promise that the BJP has made for Bangalore. The urban voter has given the BJP the chance which it so badly wanted. Will they be able to deliver what they had promised is something that time will tell.

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