Unfazed by their poor performance, citizen forums that fielded candidates in the recent civic polls are already looking ahead and have set their sights at the 2014 assembly.
As many as 67 citizen candidates were fielded by multiple forums across the city. Of these, only one – Makarand Narwekar, of My Dream Colaba, was elected as corporator from ward 227.
Explaining the performance, Santosh Awatramani, spokesperson, Mumbai 227, said: “This was just the beginning. We should consider that so many common citizens stood up to fight the elections – a domain confined to political parties till now.”
Blaming the poor show on the delay in making their presence felt, Adolf D’souza, convenor of Mumbai Nagriksatta and the city’s first citizen candidate said: “We started our process late this time. Next election, we have to make sure we get more involved with voters. The process has to begin now, by taking up civic issues to make the forum visible to citizens,” he said. D’souza too could not secure a victory in the recent civic polls, where he was contesting from ward 60, Andheri.
D’souza also said the movement had taken a step forward, as citizen candidates had fared better than many small parties. “We need to rethink our strategy of banking on young voters. They are receptive when protest marches are organised. But it’s sad that they did not come out on Thursday and vote.”
Ram Ramdas, Mumbai spokesperson of Lok Satta Party, which has also focused on citizen-centric governance but failed to achieve electoral gains, said: “We finalised our candidates late this time. A strategy needs to be put in place for 2014 much earlier and a party organisational structure would certainly help us recoup better”.
However, Hansel D’souza, convenor, citizens forum Mumbai Nagrik Manch, said money power reins over people power. “We will continue to work through ward committees. Unfortunately, for citizen candidates, answers to electoral success remain in the lurch,” he said.