Is GMC Polls Solution to Guwahati's Unending Civic Woes?

Elections to 60 wards of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) will be held on April 22 after a gap of nine years, while counting of votes will take place on April 24.
Is GMC Polls Solution to Guwahati's Unending Civic Woes?

Elections are here again!

Residents of Guwahati are gearing up to cast their precious votes in the much awaited elections to the city’s municipal corporation with the hope that the soon to be elected members will finally find some concrete solutions to their woes.

The past few days have been busy for the candidates contesting the municipal elections, with each trying to put his or her best foot forward before the masses with the hope of garnering votes.

Elections to 60 wards of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) will be held on April 22 after a gap of nine years, while counting of votes will take place on April 24.

A total of 197 candidates are contesting the civic polls in 57 wards, while three candidates of the ruling BJP have already been elected uncontested in three wards in the city.

Candidates of different political parties can be seen making tall promises during campaigns to solve the perennial civic woes facing the city if they are voted to power. Now it remains to be seen whether they actually devote their time and funds at their disposal to the service of the public or choose to serve themselves after coming to power.

The city has been reeling under the never ending problem of flash floods for years now. Neither the Centre nor the state government has so far succeeded in finding a permanent solution.

The GMC on the other hand can be seen dredging the silt of the Bharalu river that acts as the main drain carrying the excess rain water of the city to the Brahmaputra. However, this is only a temporary solution.

The city residents on the other hand, also cannot escape by casting all blame on the government or GMC as most of them have done their part of polluting the drains by dumping non-biodegradable wastes like plastics, thereby clogging them.

While the problem of bad roads has been addressed to a certain extent, there are still many which are in urgent need of repair. Several lanes and by-lanes across the city had been dug up to lay down water pipes by the Guwahati Jal Board, but were never restored to their original state. This in turn has added to the problems of locals as a single spate of rains is sufficient to turn a lane into a mini river.

Meanwhile, a section of voters are also skeptical about casting their votes in the municipal polls as many ward members forget their promises once they win.

“We have seen in the past that ward members after winning the polls do nothing to develop their wards or address the civic problems facing the locals. I may not vote this time,” said Ramesh Saha, a resident of Bhaskar Nagar in the city.

The saffron party has swept the recent municipal polls in Assam and forming 73 new civic bodies out of the total 80 across the state. According to the state election commission while BJP won in 672 wards, Congress won in 71. 149 wards were won by other political parties and independent candidates.

On the other hand, 57 wards were won uncontested during the recent municipal polls.

Now it remains to be seen whether the voters once again choose to bring the BJP to power in the GMC polls.

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