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Shortlisted | Elections and Urban Development: A nexus in Indian context

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Political agendas, manifestos, and electoral promises often dictate urban development priorities in India. With elections round the corner, this essay brings to you what goes in the interplay between political process and city evolution. The essay is a part of shortlisted entries for the essay writing contest, February 2024.
Shortlisted | Elections and Urban Development: A nexus in Indian context 1
Source -https://www.m9.news/politics/ts-elections-new-targets-in-hyderabad/

The 2024 elections are on the way and the excitement dwells in every citizen as who comes to power next! In the vibrant rainbow of India’s democratic landscape, the interconnection between elections and urban development is a complex nexus that shapes the destiny of cities. This complex relationship is deeply rooted in the democratic process, where political agendas, aspirations and promises become interwind with the growth and transformation of urban spaces.

Urban Development emerges as a critical facet of their narrative, reflecting the aspirations of a rapidly urbanizing population. The nexus between elections and urban development becomes sound and solid as cities evolve into centres of economic, social and political agendas.

The electoral cycle becomes a defining rhythm, influencing the trajectory of urban planning and policy formulation. Parties incorporate urban centric promises into their rallies and manifestos, filled with promises and hopes to common people; hope to give housing schemes, better roads, infrastructure, seeking to speak to the desires of the voters in the regions. The attraction of better amenities, improved connectivity and enhanced quality of life becomes a central theme during campaigns, reflecting on a symbiotic relationship between elections and urban development.

However, this nexus is not without its challenges. The urgency to deliver on electoral promises sometimes leads to hastily conceived urban projects and policies, lacking the necessary long-term vision. The push for immediate results, characteristic of the electoral cycle, may overshadow the importance of inclusive urban planning. In this process, cities witness haphazard development rather than holistic and well-thought urban transformations. The recent consecration of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, created some buzz in the nation, but little is known that the small town in one of India’s poorest states lacks the infrastructure to host millions of people. Locals suggest the upcoming prosperity in the city is for corporates, not for locals, as the city is still ill prepared to handle such humongous urban transformation.

Any development requires interplay of democratic processes and urban aspirations, but the challenges lie in striking the balance between politics and urban planning, with a strong vision for the people and its nation, and the urban planning promises are more than just dreams and hopes.


Comments from Mentors

“The tone is fairly dull and the narrative is cliched even though the writer makes the point they set out to make.” – Arpita Das, Mentor, Urban Imprints

“Good topic, slightly simplistic treatment.” – Peeyush Sekhsaria, Mentor, Urban Imprints

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