WITH A mix of hope and expectations, electorate cast their vote for the eight wards of the Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation Sunday. This time, a new party — Lok Vikas Manch — formed by retired government employees is providing a third option to the electorate in Gandhinagar, which has a significant number of government staffers. Many feel that the ongoing Patidar agitation for reservation may also have an effect on the results.
While some voters questioned the existence of the municipal corporation, saying it hardly brought any change in the civic amenities and infrastructure in the last five years, many said issues such as bus-train connectivity, garbage collection and disposal may hurt the ruling BJP.
The Indian Express talked to a few residents of Gandhinagar and sought to know their expectations from the corporation.
Falguni (42) and Rajesh Dholakia (50), homemaker and businessman, Sector 7:
Last time, when there were only two options for us, voters were taken for a ride with Congress councillors defecting to the BJP, but this time there is a third option for us. The newly-formed party of retired government employees is contesting nearly two dozen seats. It offers us some hope. Despite being the capital city, Gandhinagar has not improved in terms of public transportation services, especially trains. There is only one train halt despite assurances from L K Advani, who is the local MP. We’ve to travel to Ahmedabad to catch a train.
Savitri Rawal (49), homemaker, Sector 22:
Garbage collection and disposal is a major issue. The irregular collection by the civic body leads to several other problems, including outburst of vector-borne and other diseases, and stray dogs menace. With limited public transport facilities, we are forced to use private vehicles.
Mallika Prajapti (24), pg student, Sector 2:
Any party or candidate winning the elections should aim at improving the standard of living of Gandhinagar residents. Though not much has been delivered in the last five years, we are hopeful that this time there will be some change, at least for the young generation. Offering Wi-Fi services is not the solution. Basic needs, including water and cleanliness, should be addressed. Also, lack of quality institutes of higher education in the city has forced students to commute to other cities like Ahmedabad.
Atul Pandya (48), businessman, Sector 3:
This time, too, it is expected to be a 50-50 verdict. There are talks of the Patidar agitation affecting the ruling party. There is hardly any need for a municipal corporation in Gandhinagar. Prior to this, five years ago, the state government was governing in a more effective manner. It has only opened up more avenues for corruption. The corporation had to take care of an already developed city, in which it also failed.
Chhaya Jayswal (37), homemaker, Sector 27:
The residents are not getting services in proportion to the taxes they pay. Lack of streetlights, garbage disposal and public transport services are the major issues. Though the state government has promised to convert the city into a Wi-Fi city, it will be merely for namesake.