Local issues to the fore as corporation elections throw up some interesting candidature in Belagavi
Elections to the Belagavi City Corporation being fought this time on party ticket have thrown up some interesting candidature.
Among them are an IT engineer, a former journalist, a housewife, a social worker and an entrepreneur who wants to have his own style of Mann Ki Baat.
Sarala Satpute did not lose heart when she was sacked from a Kannada newspaper during the lockdown. She set up a Customer Service Centre that helps residents get copies of government documents such as caste certificates and plunged into mainstream social service. She began helping weavers who lost livelihood due to the lockdown. She raised donations, distributed food packets and helped women in the Old City sell saris they had handwoven.
Ms. Satpute, whose parents who worked in a weaving factory, is among the few post-graduate women candidates in the field. She was an active in student organisations while studying her Master’s in Mass Media in Bengaluru University. The Congress candidate from Ward No 21 has promised fair wages to weaver workers and remunerative prices for handloom and powerloom products.
Ajit Patil, independent candidate from Ward No 46. is promising low-cost internet to students, while most candidates are promising drinking water, roads, jobs, housing and parks in the city. The IT professional quit a job in an MNC in Canada to start two businesses in Belagavi, his home town. He founded FAAST, an internet provider company that offers high quality internet at a cost lower than the big names in the business. The local company achieved significant success, prompting him to start a unit to produce an electric bike with all locally made parts.
He is using tech tools such as drones for campaigning, GPS live location tracking for efficient logistics management, targeted social media advertising, use of QR codes to send messages, pre-recorded phone calls and GPS geofencing for campaign management. A team of professionals, including engineers and young lawyers, is helping him in his campaign. He has promised an AI-enabled network of CCTV cameras across the city, sports facilities and more public toilets. His company has set up a free WiFi facility on the District Court premises.
Vani Vilas Joshi, BJP candidate from Ward No 43, decided to fight the polls on a hot afternoon two years ago. A couple of women had gone to complain to the then councillor about irregular water supply but he refused to hear them. “That day, I decided to enter the corporation council,” she said. Water features prominently in her list of promises. The others are State-sponsored care for elders and increased job opportunities to local youth.
Advocate Sarita Pratik Shipurkar has promised free legal aid to voters. She has already been offering free legal counselling to women in distress and alternative dispute resolution tools to parties in disputes. The independent candidate from Ward No 32 is also particular that each home should get drinking water on their doorstep.
Social work is not new to Seema Babasaheb Inamdar who has been helping people in her area get things done in government offices. The Janata Dal(S) candidate from Ward No 13 has promised democratic and accountable governance for all residents. “I have been organising awareness programmes on government schemes for the welfare of minorities and I want to extend them to other areas and make them a regular feature in the city corporation’s agenda,’’ she said.
Shreyas Somashekar Nakadi, entrepreneur from Ward No 34, believes in grassroots level planning. He wants to organise “Janata Ki Baat-Janata Ke Sath” programmes in all the wards to address the problems of the residents and seek their inputs in the formulation of plans. He says that he is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat programme.
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