For those keen on having a say in the selection of citizen group-supported independent candidates for the upcoming civic elections, here is a way. City’s first citizen-backed corporator, Adolf D’Souza and his supporters, have launched an online poll to determine the way in which the citizen candidates will be elected for the 2012 elections.
The poll, the results of which can significantly decide and alter the shape of citizen activism in the city, is being held to decide the process to be followed while selecting citizen-backed candidates. Said D’Souza, “We wanted the exercise to be democratic. It’s best to involve stakeholders in the process.”
Of the three options available for citizens at the poll, many activists told the Hindustan Times that they preferred an umbrella body of citizen groups across the city which will have a decentralised set up to ensure local ward-level participation. This umbrella body will have local offshoots, which will have selection committees in every ward to select the best candidate.
D’Souza’s colleague, Raajesh Senha, said that the poll will bring in clarity. “We knew we wanted to have more citizen candidates, but were confused about what the best way could be. As civic elections near, many citizens are expressing interest in becoming citizen candidates. We needed to streamline the process and make it smoother,” said Senha.
If such an umbrella body becomes a reality, it would be a first for the city. Although there have been experiments to get non-political, citizen-backed candidates elected, there has been no pan-Mumbai organisation working at it. Senha said that creating such a body is the aim of the poll. “Our aim is to preferably have such an umbrella body to help us target the 227 wards in the city.”
Volunteers are quite enthused by the response the initiative has garnered. The group had sent about 1,800 emails informing various groups and activists about the poll and has got 977 responses till Sunday evening.
Said D’Souza: “The last day to register your responses is August 20. Based on the responses, we will decide our course of action.”