IIM Graduate Forms Political Party To Transform Bengaluru Into Model City

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IIM Graduate Forms Political Party To Transform Bengaluru Into Model City

​BNP is the world's first city-only party to focus only on the neglected civic issues of a city while remaining away from mainstream political issues concerning the state or the Centre.

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Srikanth Narasimhan, the founder and General Secretary of the Bengaluru's Narvirmana Party (BNP), is an alumnus of India's most prestigious schools. An Engineering-graduate from BITS Pilani and an MBA from IIM-Bangalore, Srikanth had been in Corporate for more than 20 years before actively stepping into the social and civic space of Bengaluru. He is also the president of the Bengaluru Apartments Federation (BAF), and it was this stint gave him a foray with politicians and district administrative officials.

"BNP is the world's first city-only Party to address the neglected civic issues while remaining away from mainstream political matters concerning the State or the Centre", Srikanth told The Logical Indian. The founder explicitly mentioned that the Party was not aspiring to step into mainstream politics at the State and national level. However, the Party would focus entirely on the day-to-day issues of thousands of Bengalurians. While describing more on the kind of issues that the Party would work upon, Srikanth said, "We would focus on things that impact common people in the city, for instance, garbage lying on the road unattended, damaged roads and water supply issues amongst many others".

While emphasizing the reach of the Party, Srikanth said, "Currently, there are 198 wards, but we are likely to become 243 wards. The support has been building organically for the last two years. Over a while, people have appreciated the idea of the Party and showed a willingness to contest and help out. We have not specifically put a call asking people to contest. One fascinating thing that we do, which is different from several other Parties, is that no high command decides for the Party. In each Ward, we form a team, and the team decides who will contest. For instance, if one does not get the backing of any other team, I cannot contest the elections."

Vision Of The Party

The Party members say that BBMP receives ₹10,000 crores as the annual budget, but still, the condition of the city is going from bad to worse. The anticipated reasons for the situation are lack of citizen participation from citizens in ward elections, no transparency in the budget and accounts, no accountability for the work done or not done and efficient and responsible citizens choosing to stay out of politics and governance.

Even before winning the ward elections, the Party has already swung into action and takes initiatives to help the locals have a better experience. The Party launched BNP Jana Mitra, a campaign to help disburse the benefits of several government schemes to the most vulnerable sections of society. Under their BNP Nimma Arogya campaign, the Party volunteers aim to benefit over 20 lakh citizens of the city with preventive and primary healthcare facilities.

When asked about the vision of the Party, Srikanth said, "The vision of the Party is to make Bengaluru a model city. The objective is to bring about sustainable, inclusive and balanced development of Bengaluru, and its ideology is good grassroots governance. Through BNP, we aim to bring about a change by fighting the system from the inside, rather than from the outside. We believe that local governance is all about execution, which has been grossly lacking due to various factors".

He further shared that BNP commits to keeping the Bengaluru citizen at the core and work towards delivering the basic amenities like pothole-free roads, garbage-free localities, sewage-free stormwater drains, working street lights and so on".

While speaking about how BNP is road-mapping their path into the political sphere, Srikanth said, "Our minimum target is to contest from 100 to 125 Wards. Moreover, our minimum target is to win from at least 25 Wards, 10 per cent of the overall number of wards. Several people in our Party are running powerful campaigns. The numbers are increasing". When asked about the onus of the victory, Srikanth told The Logical Indian, "The onus lies on the team, because of as of now, we have not put out the names of any of the contestants, because it would according to the reservation and other formal procedures. Right now, we build up a team for a particular Ward, which then works towards the main objective."

Funding By Local Teams

When we asked about the funding for the Party, Srikanth tells The Logical Indian, "Money is obviously going to be very important, but not as much as other parties require, because we are not going to go around luring people to vote for us. We would probably need a few lakhs to contest from each Ward, and we have already chalked a plan out for that. We will do two things: firstly, we will spend money on the local ward level for our campaigns, and that Money will predominantly come from the local teams only. At the Central level, we want to raise a fair bit of money because we want to spend some money on social media, hoardings, etc. For the last one-and-a-half years, we have raised nearly ₹1 crore for running the day-to-day operations of the Party."

When asked if BNP has crossed ways with mainstream political parties, Srikanth said, "In some areas, for sure. We have already been tagged as the 'B-Team of AAP' in a couple of cases. Even I considered politics a dirty game and felt concerned if people would support it. However, one of the most pleasant surprises that I have witnessed is that people are looking for a change".

While mentioning why their BNP is connecting to the people, Srikanth told The Logical Indian, "All these parties, whether they are national or state-level or regional level, they are all fighting on national issues and are using planks of caste and religion for their purposes. People are tired of all of this. When BNP came in, we were clear that grassroots development has been ignored, and we focus only on Bengaluru and how civic issues affect the locals."

BNP also launched a campaign called "LekkaBeku" to genuinely involve citizens and drive transparency in budget expenditure. It has launched the Citizen portal for transparency that provides complete details of BBMP's budget allocation and expenses at the ward level. It would be interesting to witness what the eventual course of the Party would be like in the times to come. Nonetheless, the Party seems promising in its stance and objectives.

Also Read: Sikkim Government Bans Plastic Bottles To Conserve Environment From 2022

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