In a unique effort, a group has reached out to candidates contesting polls in Rajasthan, asking them to sign an agreement which states that if elected, they would focus on resolving various civic issues including those of cleanliness and stray animals within a year or resign.
The signature campaign, carried out by 'Helping Hands, Alwar' group in the run-up to the voting on Friday, has found support with the first-time voters of the city.
The affidavit has promises of installing three sewage treatment plants within a year for waste management in the city, tackling corruption, ensuring that stray animals are off roads, water harvesting systems made mandatory for registering land plots, encroachment is cleared, toilets at public places for women and children and special focus on education and health.
The affidavit, a copy of which is available with PTI, also states clearly that the citizens can move the court charging the winning candidate with fraud and misleading if they do not deliver on the promise and will have to resign their post.
"If a candidate seeks the support of the citizens who are bothered about the city and democracy in the country, then the candidate must sign the affidavit," says Ankit Anil Bhargava, one of the founders of the registered group.
He said the group has met 12 of the 17 candidates who have filed their nominations for the electoral battle from Alwar (Urban) seat, currently represented by the BJP. Alwar has 4.5 lakh residents and 2.5 lakh voters.
"Of them, 10 have signed the agreement, while two, candidates from the BJP and the Congress, refused to sign it. We tried to reach out to the five others contesting Independently, but could not find them. Appears that they are fighting only on the paper," Bhargava said.
He said the candidates who have signed the affidavit include Aam Aadmi Party's Ajay Kumar Punia, Bahujan Samaj Party's Tara Singh, Abhinav Rajasthan Party's Navjot Singh Bhamlot, Shiv Sena's Shri Krishan Gupta, Communist Party of India's Tejpal Saini and some Independents.
For over three years now, the group has been dedicated to the cause of cleanliness amid the city slipping from 343rd to 376th rank on the national cleanliness index in the last three years in a country of 434 cities. Members and volunteers of the group, that runs up to 750, have over the last 214 Sundays gathered at different nooks and corners including schools and bus stands to clean up the dirt by themselves.
"The group aims to motivate citizens to take up their issues which could further motivate the administration to carry out its responsibilities such as ensuring cleanliness, clearing stray animals off streets, and providing good overall civic amenities," said Deepak Sharma, another of the five founders of the group.
The initiative has the citizens of Alwar, which is tagged in the National Capital Region, enthused, especially the youth. "I think this is a very good concept. If the politicians commit themselves to working for the city in writing, nothing better than that," said 19-year-old first-time voter Sourabh Kalra, who has come back from his Gurgaon-based college to exercise his franchise.
The elections to the 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan would be held on December 7 and results would be out on December 11.