When candidates come a knocking…

Citizen Matters Magazine – Vol 1 Issue 6

Dear Readers,

Let’s cut to the chase. Election campaigning has started in Bangalore. On April 23, voters from the city’s four parliamentary constituencies will elect their MPs. With the rising interest in voting amongst the educated classes, there will likely be many opportunities for you to directly engage the candidates when they come knocking.

But what would you ask the candidates? Should we ask them to make our cities more liveable (which is largely a local government issue) or grill them on grave issues like economic slowdown, terror and communal violence? Or both? Before we go further, we must re-examine two starting points.

One: The realities our parties and candidates are operating under. How independent of undemocratic pulls, divisive agendas and vested interests are the candidates really? When you notice the crores of rupees (much of it black money) being spent by a candidate and his/her supporters during the campaign, surely it also crosses your mind (yes, cynically) that it will be payback time when the winner comes into office.

Two: You. Before you ask an MP anything, ask yourself this. How do you make up your mind on policy and politics? Do you often take the views of people of your ethnicity, religion or language? Do you let your elders and other seniors decide their views for you? Do you or your family have a favourite political party, and if so will you simply vote for that party regardless of the candidate?

If you answer no, you are part of a new generation of voters, seeking change. You can ask these questions of your MP candidates:

  1. Will you seek the views of Bangaloreans in your constituency before you vote on a major bill or amend a law?
  2. How independent are you from your party high command when voting in Parliament? Will you vote as per your conviction and your constituents’ views, especially when it is different from your party’s line?
  3. How much money in total is being spent for your campaign? Are you accounting for all the money? Will you make your donor list public and whether they paid in cash or cheque? Question your candidate on these lines and write in to us at editors [at] citizenmatters [dot] in with what the candidates said in response, and what that meant to you. We look forward to your emails and till then…
Subbu Vincent

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