Mumbai has a rare chance this election to send apolitical citizen candidates to the BMC. What started as a trickle five years ago with Adolf D’Souza’s election from Juhu has turned into a welcome flood. As many as 97 candidates—lawyers, private sector employees, RTI activists, home-makers, retired cops—filed their nominations on January 30 for the elections on February 16. There are a total of 227 seats in the corporation. The entry of ordinary citizens is an unprecedented wave in a city that has been largely apathetic to civic issues.
Citizen indifference changed to interest and involvement after the disastrous Mumbai floods of 2006; citizens’ groups campaigned for open spaces, pavements, efficient garbage removal, and against encroachments and potholed-roads. The Advanced Locality Management concept, where such groups partnered with civic officials, helped. And, D’Souza’s lament that an individual, however well-intentioned, is powerless against politicians worked. In the run-up to this election, at least four major citizen platforms emerged: ‘Mumbai 227’, which fielded 70 candidates, Loksatta Party, Mumbai Nagrik Satta, and Mumbai Nagrik Manch. Besides, there were Independents.
The groups held workshops to groom candidates, devised strategies to counter political parties. But they differed in their approach to selecting candidates. As a result, in at least ten seats, candidates of two such groups are facing each other. “Though we had all initially agreed not to compete against one another, it has happened. The only beneficiary will be a political party as apolitical citizens get divided,” rues Hansel D’Souza of Mumbai Nagrik Manch. However, Adolf D’Souza, who was with Mumbai 227, but split to form his own Mumbai Nagrik Satta, believes this is a positive trend: “It’s good that so many are coming out to fight elections. There may be fewer citizen versus citizen contests after withdrawals.”
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT