WHILE the NCP is trying its best to retain power in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the resurgent BJP, after its victory in the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections, has raised its pitch to snatch away the reins of the civic body for the first time. However, a comparative study of the election manifestos of the two parties indicate that the promises they have made to their voters are, in fact, quite similar.
The BJP released its election manifesto on Friday while the NCP released its manifesto weeks ago, on December 29, even before the election dates had been declared. To reach out to voters by adopting innovative ways, the BJP has decided to declare separate election manifestos for each of the 41 electoral panels. The party will also have a separate manifesto for the city.
In a bid to make its election manifesto look different, the NCP has mentioned its commitment to fulfill the goals set internationally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as part of the Paris Agreement. While the BJP has assured that it would make the Smart City Mission of the Union government successful in the city by implementing several projects, including WiFi facility, and improve civic services, the NCP has set an objective of making Pune the first ‘Digitally Literate City’ by 2020.
The Metro rail project is another common point: both parties want the service to be operationalised without further delay. The NCP has promised to launch the Metro service on 31 kms of the two approved routes by 2021-22, while the BJP has pledged to secure sufficient funding from the government to get the project started without any delay.
To provide an efficient public transport service, the NCP has assured that it will start the BRTS service on all the proposed routes and ensure there is an increase in its use, while the BJP has promised to create a network of BRTS routes and make it free on two routes. The party has also promised to start AC buses on all BRTS routes and provide various public facilities at bus stops.
The BJP has decided to prepare a comprehensive traffic plan, prioritising road construction, encroachment-free footpaths and effective use of cycle tracks, with the development of the Ring Road through PMRDA. The NCP has said it will work towards signal-free roads and redevelop 100 kms of roads, with international norms, and promote pedestrian plaza.
Both the NCP and the BJP have promised to work towards providing 24-hour water supply in the city by installing meters for every water connection, while seeking more allocation to fulfill the drinking water need of the city.
Both parties have promised to construct new sewage treatment plants, which would put an end to the release of untreated sewage water in the rivers, by developing new sewage treatment plants. They have also promised to beautify Mula-Mutha river.
The NCP and the BJP also plan to plant trees on hills and open plots in the city to increase the green cover; they also want to push for rainwater harvesting projects and undertake solar power generation projects.
Both have put forward an agenda to make maximum effective use of the amenity spaces within the civic jurisdiction. The BJP has promised a time-bound programme to develop civic facilities in the amenity spaces while the NCP has decided to prepare a master plan to develop these spaces.
To resolve the issue of garbage disposal, the NCP as well as the BJP have planned to set up small capacity waste processing plants using latest technology in each electoral panel. They have also outlined plans to address the health issues of residents by setting up medical centres in each electoral panel, providing discounts in health facilities for senior citizens and women, as well as setting up a medical college.
In its manifesto, the BJP has also planned dedicated gardens for senior citizens and various schemes for their safety.
The other projects the two parties have in common include construction of sufficient number of public toilets for women, conserving the legacy of the city, promoting tourism, setting up culture halls and art galleries.
While the BJP has plans to set up yoga kendras in each electoral panel and constructing a memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji in Kothrud, the NCP has promised to introduce an insurance cover for students of civic schools and work towards introducing medical insurance for all citizens.