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The PMC elections: How to vote manual

The elections for the Municipal Corporation are only a few days away. The conscientious citizen in me went to the `Meet your (potential) Corporator’ session organised by the local Vikas Mandal. I went with the objective of figuring out who to vote for… or at least, who not to vote for.

The session was not very well-attended – either by citizens or contestants. If it were perhaps I would have been better informed now on who to give my vote to. Nevertheless, here is what I learnt:

  1. This time, in Pune, wards have been grouped into `panels’ (called `prabhag’ in Marathi). There are four groups/categories (gats) in each panel. Each party fields four candidates – one in each group.
  1. Each voter casts a vote for EACH GROUP. So a voting is complete ONLY when you have cast FOUR votes. Else it is invalid.
  1. At the polling booth there will be multiple Electronic Voting Machines (EVM’s). As many as are required to contain the entire list of all candidates for each group. Each group is color coded – white, pink/red, yellow and blue. So pick one person in each of these color coded blocks
  1. To choose a candidate, press the button next to the persons name and electoral symbol. When you have pressed four buttons (one in each block) a buzzer will sound indicating all four presses have been registered and your vote is done.
  1. The order in which you go through the blocks picking your choice is not important. Any order is fine. Whenever you are done with the fourth, the buzzer will sound
  1. It is not necessary to choose candidates from the same party across groups. You can vote one from say, BJP, other from Congress, third from NCP and so on.
  1. Each group list will have a NOTA (None of the Above) button at the very end. You may choose this in one or all of the groups. However, while that captures your disgruntlement, it is a sub-optimal choice. This, of course, is my opinion and you are entitled to feel otherwise!
  1. There is much confusion around polling booths and who is allocated where. You may end up having to go to multiple booths to figure out where you have to vote. If you are lucky, you will get a slip from one of the parties beforehand identifying it for you else you will need to approach one of the help tables that parties will likely set up on election day. So, budget some time for this activity
  1. I got no clear answers to questions on how the four elected candidates (the new Corporators from each zone) will work together post-elections. Will responsibilities be geographically defined? What is the ward to group mapping? Is this mapping already done? How will budget-allocagtion and management happen? What about accountability? My understanding is, no one has clarity on these issues yet.

Anyone who can bring more information to the table please do. Also, please correct anything that I have mis-understood and/or communicated incorrectly in the list above

A few observations on the meeting itself:

  1. There were very few citizens present. Many of those present seemed to be there just to express discontent with the whole electoral process and insist that NOTA was the only option worth considering
  2. Only one candidate turned up. That too rather late. Perhaps this consitutency is not important enough to the parties or perhaps they had already made an assessment of numbers and attitude and found more worthwhile meeting spots. After all there are hardly any days left to D Day
  3. Even the one candidate who did come did not have a clear plan of action, other than the general `in-the-air’ promises. If he did have a vision, I was unable to comprehend it from what he spoke
  4. While the behaviour of the candidates (in terms of not turning up) was poor, the citizens too were a little high-handed in their language and attitude towards the party representatives. Enjoying the `power’ of their vote perhaps?? But, finally, that is simply counter-productive

I hear there are some wards where such meetings have been very useful. In another ward a friend attended and came away with a very good experience. Candidates from all contesting parties were present, they addressed the citizen charter of demands clearly and within the time – frame given. We wondered why there was so much difference between our experiences and here are some points that I came away with:

 

  1. Ensure the event has been well-promoted among citizens and much in advance
  2. Have a clear agenda circulated before hand. Each candidate in the meeting was given five minutes to go over the citizens charter of demands and given an opportunity to speak followed by Q&A
  3. Have some ground rules clearly explained before the meeting begins… e.g. in this meeting they had clarified that no English was to be used, Hindi would be used for all verbal communication. One of the other rules they had was no arguments, no criticism of any candidate or party. Listen and clarify. Not a forum to keep pushing till you get all your answers.

In the interest of getting the most out of these initiatives still on the anvil it might be useful to reflect on these.

Wishing all of us a peaceful election process and a Municipal Corporator(s) we deserve :p

Blend In Or Break Away

I know next to nothing about architecture. But am always ready to stand and gape. So I signed up for this easy-peasy course on understanding it. I loved that I got to ..no not stand, I did not actually go to these places (sniffle), but SIT at my desk and gape .. at some beautiful poetry arrested-in-motion

I loved some of them so much I am going to paste them here so I can spend some more time playing with them. Yaaay! Here goes …

Park Guel. Gaudi

Does it not dispel all dark thoughts from your mind and bring a burst of happy sunshine?? Smile, Smile.

Now this one has tranquility stamped all over it..

Falling Waters. Frank Wright

Falling Waters. Frank Wright

And these make me shut up. Not a mean feat.

Aliyev Centre-Zaha hadid

Heydar Aliyev Centre. Zaha Hadid

Niemeyer Centre

Niemeyer Cultural Centre. Oscar Niemeyer

Harp Bridge. Calatrava

Harp Bridge. Calatrava

I HAVE to show you this one ..again a Calatrava.

Turning Torso. Calatrava

Turning Torso. Calatrava

If you want to see it turning open an image of it in a size that doesn’t fit on your screen in it’s entirety. Then starting at the top move slowly down the page. Gasp.

And one more from him..I think he is my favourite architect..for now.

Sharq Crossing. Calatrava

Sharq Crossing. Calatrava

Seems like, in architecture, you can take one of two roads …blend/add on to the landscape around, which leads to a sense of peace and harmony OR create something that uses the landscape as a foil and leads away from it in breathtaking, awe-inspiring ways.

Both create something beautiful. Architecture that takes the middle path – banal.

Clang..clang,..cliche warning… All art mirrors life; is born of life. Reflects the continual choice we face – blend in or break away? Do either with purpose, conviction and commitment and we make a life of beauty. Else….ugliness. Inside and Outside.

That’s not what I really meant!

I love them. I think I have been in love with them all along. Mid-life crisis notwithstanding. Love to tease them, play with them, roll them around to see how they ..er..roll… and best of all i love to hear them. Hear them cackle with glee when they are pronounced a certain way, smile when they get the right tone, nod sagely when they are delivered with the weight they need… I love to make love to them, leave a mark on them before they go out there and I lose control of them. Yes. I am sure as I can ever be…  I love words and I love giving voice to them.

But I don’t love them enough to bury myself in their place and time of birth and the complications of who parented them or who their close relations are. Be that as it may.. they are here.. with me for the moment .. and that’s all that matters…

And like a true artist I love them for the sake of them and am not unduly worried about whether the babies I create with them will be cared for by listeners, whether they will make a name for themselves in the annals of reading history.

And because they mean so much to me I refuse to see they are not as important to many. That what they say and how they say it should not be read so much into. That every pause, every slant, every syllable  is not laden with meaning and intent! And they mean it when they say “Oh! That’s not what I really meant!”

Ah well… it takes all kinds 🙂

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