Friday, February 17, 2017

My Vote, My City!




“Leadership is not about the next election, it's about the next generation”… Simon Sinek.

Simon O. Sinek is a British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant. He is the author of three books including the 2009 best seller Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. And with Pune & Pimpri Chinchwad i.e. PMC & PCMC’s election are just ten days away what Simon said needs to keep in mind while we vote! In the first place it’s such sad think that even after seventy years getting independence we have to run an awareness campaign asking people to vote! As still many people thinks what my one vote is going to make difference & prefer to spend the voting day as holiday. It’s these people only who later keeps cursing government for every wrong thing happening around conveniently forgetting that actually they are the foundation of those wrong things, by not voting in first place & if has voted then voting wrongly in second place!

Well, let’s keep away awareness part of voting as that’s a separate topic but here will like to share few things about voting rightly! In our country, first sign of forthcoming elections  is one starts noticing public appearance of many faces which either we used to see only through hoardings (mostly illegal) or in news-papers but rarely we  have meet them across in past! Suddenly you started getting calls on your cell phone from so called political parties & they ask you, have you got any difficulty in your locality, like water shortage or road repairs types or ration card making etc. Then you get good morning whats-app messages (this was missing in last election as whats-app wasn’t then invented) & your cell phone gets flooded with sms's about how a particular personality is a great social worker & done so many things for your ward (locality) which you only come to know through these messages! If you are luckier then gifts started pouring in your home & it may be anything right from silver Ganpati Statues to home appliances, depending on the financial power of the said political figure aspiring ticket from your constituency! Remember this is just start & more flows when actually the party tickets are issued to respective candidates! Then you start receiving glossy reports popularly known as “Ahawal” of works done by various political parties along with the candidates, which mostly covers images of the candidate with eminent personalities as well bigger political faces like CM or Central Ministers etc! Then the news papers advertises saying how some party has taken decisions which has changed your life from hell to heaven & how next five years the respective party will be committed to make your life comfortable & hassle free! And finally every party’s candidates starts visiting your home during which you & your family  been greeted as if they are your family friends for years, touching feet of elderly people in home showing respect to seniors, the kids get presented by sweets & you started feeling like on the top of moon! Even few film stars as well TV stars also can visit your home appealing you to vote for a candidate! Well well, don’t worry very few faces you will be going to see over next five years, mind it; this is what local bodies election meant here! One more thing its only in these fifteen odd days the entire city is hording or flex free; I wonder our civic body if so efficiently can do this job durng elections,  why can’t rest five years it keeps our city keeps hording free, displaying faces of so called leaders on every possible occasion! Even the names of the elected members from the billboards like this footpath or benches have been fixed courtesy those names got wiped out in the ugliest manner, mostly applying black paint on names of the elected members! This question also haunts me that if the money spent on such works is by the public & for the public only then why names of individual elected members are put in first place? Well it’s time to ask all such question as elections are here!

Not all people contesting election are bad or having personal interests other than city’s, some has done really god job or at least tried sincerely during their tenure but that’s what one has to analyze while he or she votes. Remember this is election of PMC/PCMC & the issues must be related to your day to day living & not national level policies. I keep reading in political party’s agenda about mention of some monument done in Mumbai, I wonder what it has to do with Pune’s election; with due respect to the Shivaji Maharaj, who himself never build anybodies monuments but was keen on building fortress to secure his State & here every party says they will work on Shivaji Maharaj’s guide lines, wonder what these guys have understood about the great man! Shivaji Maharaj himself never looked for any caste or religion or chosen someone just because he or she is relative of his deputy’s or financial power, while building his team but here everything revolves around the above three factors, right from choosing the candidate to asking for votes! Every elected member has to work on two levels when its city’s public body, one is for his ward & other is participating in policies which will decide fate of the city! What as a wise voter we have to do is judge your candidate on these two fronts. Agreed nobody can change anything over night but it’s the attitude & understanding of the issues is what makes the difference!

Here many will say how they can judge any candidate in so short time span as the entire election campaign hardly gets twenty odd days. Well that’s the real game, in a way even the voter gets confused whom to vote & usually succumb to some false promises or cut & paste printed agenda. If you are a wise voter then you won’t end up clicking the button of voting machine blindly. You should keep your senses open all the five years, for your ward as well for your city. Try to remember which candidate was available to fulfill your day to day needs from civic body as well which candidate has constantly followed the city level issues throughout the year. As many a times a bridge or fly over on other side of city may not solve traffic problem in your locality but somewhere some effort is being taken to tackle traffic issue at city level is important! Same way keep an eye which political party has really fought for solving civic issues right from public transport to garbage to public toilets & many such. As in the glossy election agenda all parties looks same or promises same things but what has been done to last election agenda is we should ask them. Most of the time we turn a blind eye on many things happening around us, may it be overflowing garbage bin on road or a regular traffic jam on a particular joint or we rarely visits any PMC school or hospital, as we think that’s not for us. We never bother to try public transport or walk on footpath but feel comfortable to use our own vehicle, that’s easy way to deal. We think if we don’t depend on civic body then we need not have to worry about who is ruling us. This is exactly why the so called white collared people keeps away from local body’s election as we think our vote is only for choosing Prime Minister or Chief Minister. And this is exactly why slum dwellers or people of low income group vote more prominently for PMC’s election as their day to day life depends on civic body’s services from water to drainage!

Now days all the information of the candidate is available on line on the web site of election commission, sure most of us have net packs & do spend time in surfing net. So definitely we can spare some time to get information about background of the candidate in our ward. Specifically look for the financial details if the candidate is contesting for second or third term. No harm in being successful & earning money but it’s strange coincidence with most candidates that their income graph suddenly shows steep rise only after they become corporator i.e. “mananiya” in popular Marathi terminology! At the same time educational background needs to be checked as agreed this is Democracy & even a non-school-goer can contest elections yet that was for past when means of education wasn’t available to masses. Now in 2017 if we are allowing 4th standard passed then its wrong in first place but as a voter at least we can think with logic. Though not necessarily educated elected members assure clean & non corrupt approach but there are some hopes! As well times & challenges in front of the city are changing & one needs educated mind to apply the mind to solve the problems in-front of city & support right policies made my civic administration! Also do read or go through the “Jahirnama” i.e.  a report saying what will be issues of concern for the said party or individual candidate. Do ask questions to them whenever you get opportunity to do so about viability of the promises made as many has said they will develop river front but with most of riverside lands are of private owners how PMC is going to do that, is the question one should ask & so are many things. Public transport apart from Metro, how & when it will improve is the key question. And for that you should understand exact issues on which civic body can act as well is responsible.

Lastly remember as an aware citizen your duty doesn’t ends by pressing the voting machines button just once in a year. Make your elcted member accountable for next five years & see that whatever has been promised to you has been fulfilled at least a sincere efforts has been done to do so! Or else you will end of just like thousands of people who gets cheated by crooks by showing high interest rates & at the end you lose all your hard earn money. Here, by voting wrongly you may not lose money but something far more than money & that is future of this city which is future of your next generation also! So do vote & vote wisely as if you are thinking what my one vote will do, then let me tell you, your one vote may or may not change something but if you don’t vote then definitely nothing will change!

--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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