Actor Pallavi Joshi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at YB Chavan Centre. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Actor Pallavi Joshi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at YB Chavan Centre. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The people’s wants are simple: adequate water, better roads and sanitation, streamlined traffic, efficient healthcare, clean energy, and, above all, the right to municipal services.

These issues were revealed at the BJP’s ‘Our City, Our Agenda’ initiative, helmed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at YB Chavan Centre in south Mumbai last evening. The BJP had asked citizens of Maharashtra to send in their suggestions via Facebook and Twitter for incorporation in the party’s civic polls manifesto, which will be released today.

A select group of 20 citizens who had sent in more than 7 lakh suggestions interacted with Fadnavis. The bunch comprised young professionals and entrepreneurs from Mumbai, Thane and other cities that would go to polls on February 21.

The CM said his party would gladly act on crowd-sourced suggestions and also win a majority in each city to implement the people’s manifesto.

He said wider consultation was possible owing to communication tools like Facebook and Twitter. “Political parties think that they understand everything, but the BJP believes that people’s participation is a must when making policies. Participation gives people ownership of projects, services and ultimately the city they live in. We want to understand the priorities of people when it comes to making cities smart.”

When a participant from Nagpur reminded the CM of top quality roads in his hometown, the CM admitted that concrete roads built there 20 years ago were still in better shape than those in Mumbai. “In Mumbai, roads do not conform to engineering standards. Contractors and engineers who have messed up roads in Mumbai are facing the law of the land,” he said.

He was also critical of the BMC’s poor sewage management. “Not only civic bodies but the people too need to understand that water is now one of the most costly commodities. We need to conserve water, recycle it and save the environment.”

Fadnavis said the BJP’s priority would be to provide efficient transport in each city. “You cannot ask people to stop using their private vehicles. But you need to give them alternatives like efficient transport modes that will save time and the environment as well,” he suggested.