Citizen candidates across the city are proving that innovation and creativity can go a long way to make up for lack of funds.
Without the kind of money that political parties have access to, these candidates are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to woo voters and have a range of interesting ideas for the campaigns, beginning next week.
Dr Neelam Rane, a citizen candidate from ward number 149 in Chembur will use the symbol of the common man to strike a chord with voters. She has designed a caricature that dons a Gandhi cap like Anna Hazare and a jacket similar to cartoonist RK Laxman's iconic common man. "This will be our mascot. We will show this common man facing various situations and how he is treated," said Dr Sandeep Rane, Neelam's husband, who is helping her in the campaign. Sandeep said that they are not going to put up banners, as they deface the city, and are going to use standees, with posters, instead, which can be dismantled after the campaign.
Jingles and catchy slogans are other means by which citizen candidates hope to attract people. Sherlet Singh, contesting from ward number 64 in Juhu said that her campaign tagline would be: 'Mumbai's worth voting for.' Singh will also distribute stickers and leaflets. "People must understand that though the corporator is on the lowest rung of the political system, his or her working affects us the most."
The community radio started by the Union Park Residents Association (UPRA), 90.8 FM Jago Mumbai, is also proving to be an important communication tool for candidates. "We are playing messages about the need to vote and are giving information on elections. We also aired an interview with representatives of Mumbai 227," said Bharti Kakkad, secretary, UPRA. The reach of the community radio extends from Bandra to Andheri.
The Loksatta party, which will be fielding candidates for the civic election for the first time, has drafted a manifesto, with 10 guarantees, including the setting up of an empowered ward committee.
Candidates have even extended their campaign plan to the internet, through chain emails, and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are being made use of. "Citizens who are supporting an independent candidate in one ward will also spread the ideology to citizens who they know in other wards," said Santosh Awatramani from Mumbai 227.