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A glance into "Local Body Elections"
Jamwal Mahadeep Singh9/22/2018 9:14:38 PM
Voting is how we participate in a civic society - be it for president, be it for a municipal election. It's the way we teach our children - in school elections - how to be citizens, and the importance of their voice - Loretta Lynch, an American lawyer. Elections remind us not only of the rights but the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy. When we talk of elections, it is the process in which people vote to choose a person or group of people to hold an official position. During the election process, the common man (voter) becomes a bambino (baby) for every contestant as most lovable and pretty living object in the society and these contestants behave as all time eager stuff to shower their closeness, emotions and passion. Many carry contrasting gifts of different characterization including cash incentives, bewildering promises, politics of caste, magnitude of relations, exploitation etc. But it is also a reality that elections are also won chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody. The most cherished (only during election) subject is the voter that is involved in the process in Parliamentary, Assembly, urban or Pachayat elections, in our system of three tier democratic representations in running the peoples affair. The Parliamentary elections held to run the country, assembly elections to run the states urban elections to run the cities and Panchayat elections at the village level. My write up is directed to the urban elections, a subject now-a-days much fondled by the people across the corners in the state. In valley it is discussed as boycott and in Jammu region as uncertainty and those Jammu based leaders associated with Kashmir based parties boycotting the election are in doll drums and in a fix as they were feeling of registering their much presence in Municipal elections owing to the reason of BJP distanced in this part of the state. Among all 'Joyful Tamasha' of uncertainty, much happier is BJP that has taken for granted its re-establishing the eroded identity owing to the less number of opponents in the race and taking it as a golden opportunity for painting its darkened picture. The voters in general are too in a fix as to whom they have to vote against BJP. The uncertainty is consolidating towards a choice of independent contestants. We are observing that those political parties boycotting the elections are also putting their candidates in Jammu region as independent contestants so as to keep and register their presence in municipal bodies through proxy candidates. The independent candidate has the privilege of slipping into anybodies lap and they can slip easily into their sponsored parties.
The common man has well experienced the performance of ward members elected as that of a political party. Easy understanding goes that a candidate elected on party base has no independent thought, vision and performance and fires only those bullets loaded by the party for expansion of vote bank for a larger interest of assembly elections. The political involvement makes the wards a battle field. Those elections have all kinds of outcomes in wards and Panchayats that are fragile, including violence, tensions, criminality and corruption. We can simply say that elections in local bodies do not automatically foster development, but may instead prevent or destroy it, owing to the reasons of politically charged representatives. There are number of reasons the voters should look for a nonpolitical contestant well versed and loaded with an experience of a wider spectrum than confined to political atmosphere only. The party levels in Municipal elections serve to distract the intentions of the voters from real municipal issues. The political parties create a smoke screen to prevent the voters from realizing the actual issues. The real issues in the Municipal elections are in the main administrative efficiency and not that issues of policies upon which political parties might differ. Ultimate requirement for better bodies in Municipalities and Town areas is the return of experienced, literate, visionary, selfless and dedicated persons and this aspect is required to be explored and propagated. Ultimately it is the voter who has to decide the best person that suits to them. The important aspect that required to be considered at ward level elections is to keep our wards out of the preview of turning them into political battle ground of election process, where just less than 1500 people have to look for a right choice competent enough to vision for regulating, providing, looking and maintaining some of the basic needs of a citizen enshrined in the Municipal or Panchayat Acts. If we have a visit to The Jammu & Kashmir Municipal Act 2000, we become aware that the Act has shouldered some exclusive responsibilities on the body designated as Municipal Committee for small towns, Municipal Council for Medium Towns and Municipal Corporations for Jammu city & Kashmir city. These functions we can enlist as: preparation of plans for economic development, Urban/Town planning, regulation of Municipality land use and construction of buildings, maintenance of roads within its jurisdiction, solid waste management, protection of ecological aspects, safe guarding the interests of weaker sections, slum improvement and its up-gradations, provisioning for urban amenities and facilities such as: parks, gardens and play grounds regulation of amenities such as: street lightening, parking lots, Bus stops and public conveniences, provisioning of burial and cremation grounds, provisioning and maintenance of cattle ponds as well as cruelty to animals, management of slaughter houses, vital statics including registration of birth and death. A close look of all these functions, itself makes a clear picture that there is no space left for staging a political drama in ward elections.
We have seen the impact of election dates more than tremor, when every candidate in race is on heels carrying magic words and highest of the gentleness. It is followed by street discussions, group gossips and working out strategies. If we have to follow the basic ethics of a democratic set up of bodies that are supposed to deliver for the basic amenities of common man in wards, we are supposed to look for following qualities while deciding to send our representative in these bodies.
We have to look for strong communication skills with other departments in the person who is to be laden with responsibilities of being representative.
This responsibility is not a part time involvement hence we should look for a dedicated person easily available to the person standing last in the queue. There is no end of workday.
Education is a key to future. An educated person carries his own respect in the society and being an enlightened soul he is aspiration to one and all.
Unless we have an educated person with us we become automatically deprived of many benefits as illiterate has less adoptability and more dependability.
One of the most important responsibilities that lie on the representative is to empower the subject; he is representing and gives it a voice and to reward the subjects by providing basic necessities at their door step.
The most important aspect we should look in our representative is whether he is a law avoiding person or supporters of those carrying criminality in their minds.
Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These endowments we can expect at higher level in a literate, experienced and conscious man than in those having just affiliations with political parties.
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