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BJP to face stiff challenge from citizens’ front in Agra municipal elections

BJP to face stiff challenge from citizens' front in Agra municipal elections

By Brij Khandelwal

Agra, Sep 19 (SocialNews.XYZ) An independent citizens' initiative is all set to give the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party a stiff challenge in the November Agra municipal corporation elections.


Led by an eminent doctor Munishwar Gupta, having close links with the RSS, the Agra Nirman Manch, enjoys a huge support from the local intelligentsia, the professionals and the business community.

Talking to IANS, Dr Munishwar Gupta said, "Everyday we are going to different localities and interacting with vocal activists, and the ground level leaders who are totally disenchanted with the prevailing state of affairs. For decades, Agra citizens have been taken for a ride. Even after poll promises by successive governments, the issue of a barrage on Yamuna, an international airport, a bench of the Allahabad High Court, are hanging fire. The city does not have a single national level educational institution like the IIT or an IIM. Industrial growth remains stunted. The educated youth are desperate. The city is in a mess. No one knows where thousands of crores of rupees have been squandered away in the name of cleaning of Yamuna or transforming Agra into a smart city."

The rising tide of anger against the corporators and the mayor could turn the tables, feel a few BJP leaders who have sounded the state leaders.

The Agra Nirman Manch is planning to field its own candidates, people with a clean image, and clear about the priorities. "The response is truly amazing. People are fed up with promises. The ground realities are so depressing, that one can find people fuming with anger and frustration," an activist associated with the Manch said.

"The city of three world heritage monuments, half a dozen other major historical attractions, once a pioneering industrial hub that contributed immensely to India's green revolution, known the world over for its shoe industry, iron foundries, glass manufacturing hub at Firozabad, once a part of Agra district, truly deserves a better treatment by the state and the central governments," says environmentalist Dr Devashish Bhattacharya.

The Manch has demanded full accountability and a comprehensive audit of the funds spent on Agra's development since 1990.

"Interestingly, in their poll speeches in 2014, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had promised Agra, an international airport and a barrage on the Yamuna for the safety of the Taj Mahal, but it's been eight years now. People are still waiting," Dr Harendra Gupta, former secretary of the IMA, said.

Some local intellectuals blame the Yogi Adityanath government for neglecting Agra that generates huge foreign exchange revenue from tourism. India's premier tourist destination attracts close to 10 million visitors annually.

Raj Kumar Maheshwari of the River Connect Campaign said "They have failed to improve the working of the Agra University, one of the oldest mother universities in north India, founded in 1927. The medical infrastructure at the SN Medical College, again, one of the oldest, founded in 1865, needs streamlining and upgraded. All sectors of growth are in a state of decay. No wonder the younger generation is migrating to greener pastures."

The roads are bumpy and potholed. The simian and bovine menace has not been addressed. The local body governance reeks of corruption at all levels. The Yamuna river flows dry and heavily polluted. They have not been able to sort out one single civic problem, complain social activists Rahul Raj and Deepak Rajput.

The Agra Municipal Corporation has 100 corporators and a directly elected mayor. The Bharatiya Janata Party has enjoyed uninterrupted reign since 1989. Agra has three BJP MPs, 10 MLAs. "What more do you want from Agra, asks an angry green activist Padmini Iyer.

Source: IANS

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BJP to face stiff challenge from citizens' front in Agra municipal elections

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