Grassroots democracy is in full display in the Ranchi mayoral polls, where a technocrat, an anti-corruption crusader and a daily wager are among the 14 candidates in the fray. The election will be held in the city on June 23.
The technocrat is selling people the dream of a clean city, the anti-corruption activist is promising a corruption-free civic body, and the daily wager is offering a better life to the less fortunate. Madhuri Lakra, 44, who works as a helper at a hostel of the Birsa Agricultural University, is promising a city that will also have respect for the poor, labourers and footpath vendors. An intermediate pass out, Lakra has been looking after her two daughters ever since she lost her husband 14 years ago. She even worked as a labourer in Pandra Krishi Bazar.
“I understand the problems of labourers and footpath vendors, who face government’s injustice every now and then. Footpath vendors face police’s lathi on allegation of encroachment on government land. If I am elected as Ranchi mayor, the less fortunate people will also live with respect,” she said.
Lakra has the backing of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the election. “She is a true social worker. So, we thought to support her in the election, as she could bring a change in the city,” said RJD spokesperson Rajesh Yadav. Another candidate, Navin Prakash Lakra, 37, an architect, wants to change the face of the city. “Since I am an architect, I know the structure of the state capital better. Ranchi is lagging behind in ensuring even basic amenities to its people. If I become mayor, my first job would be to change the face of the city.”
Durga Munda, 39, a school dropout, is riding high on his anti-corruption activist image. Munda became famous as an anti-graft crusader after his PILs put several political stalwarts, including former chief minister Madhu Koda, behind bars. “People of Ranchi want to get rid of corrupt practices in the Ranchi Municipal Corporation. If Ranchi elects me as mayor, I will fight against prevailing corruption in the corporation and build a clean city,” he said.
Asha Lakra, 35, a master degree and bachelor of education holder, wants to utilise her learning to develop Ranchi city. “An educated person can understand the city’s problem better. I will not only work for civic development but also generate awareness for education, particularly for girl child, if Ranchi elects me as mayor,” said Lakra.