Indicating just how high the stakes are for the BJP in the upcoming Mumbai civic polls, the party released its manifesto on Tuesday promising Mumbaiites the moon. From free medical insurance cover worth Rs5 lakh for every family to pothole-free roads in the next five years, the BJP’s manifesto, designed as a stamp paper to show the seriousness of its intent, has something for every one of its potential voters.
The slum dweller and urban poor have been promised a dedicated corpus of Rs1,000 crore for development, the upper middle-class citizen gets the promise of a cleaner administration. Even the Sena’s core support base in a clear taunt got a promise of a grand memorial for party founder Bal Thackeray.
But the marked difference from other parties was that the BJP, through its manifesto, tried to lay down a road map for the city’s future and delivered on the premise of ‘transparency’.
The manifesto promises a turnaround in the way the BMC has been run so far.
For instance, all elected councilors, officials and even contractors will have to declare their assets every year; fudging of tenders, cartelling for big works will attract stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act; third party audits of works, and transparent information on all ongoing works will be made public. An Upa Lokayukta will be designated specially for Mumbai to act as a watchdog for BMC officials. And signaling greater citizen participation, the party will call for a citizens’ charter asking Mumbaiites to suggest changes in the way municipal services are given.
“We are presenting a time-bound programme and road map for Mumbai’s development. We are sure that Mumbaiites will not place their trust on emotive issues and back the BJP’s promise of transparent governance and development,’’ said Ashish Shelar, the BJP city unit, as he released the document at the party office in Dadar.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ dream for the city includes an end-to-end transportation system with a single ticketing system and a greener Mumbai that will start with planting of 2 crore trees.
For a city that has languished for years with bad civic amenities, roads and apathy, this is welcome change. Only if all this can really be implemented.