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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Results of Bommanahalli election and what next?

The results from Bommanhalli (see link) show the obvious fact that we (Yogesh and all of us who fought it together with him even if some of us with limited commitment due to personal constraints) lost the election. We lost and so did for now, the hope for good clean politics. But, while it is a small battle lost, let's not lose hope and continue to focus on the bigger war ahead. Between Yogesh Devaraj and Ashwin Mahesh, there were 15K people in Bommanahalli (or around 10% of electorate) who voted for Clean Politics. Hopefully many more thought about voting for them, but decided against considering the enemy (greater evil in their eyes) that they wanted to defeat (Congress, BJP).

While both had issues with the way each other's campaign & why we were working against each other, the promise that both made were very similar: Greater empowerment of citizens, clean governance, zero corruption, prioritizing and focus on solving people's problems instead of filling their own bank lockers and many more and nearly 10% of the electorate has responded and many more were denied the opportunity to express themselves by missing names on electoral rolls, incorrect information of booths, misleading of educated people who came out to vote (similar to attempts with misleading me and Bhagyasri Hebbar). In addition, the over 500ppl arrested for attempting to cast fake votes means that a % of the 80+60K votes that Congress & BJP polled might also have been fake (we'll never know for sure). Last but not the least, this is the story in every constituency. A LSP candidate in my constituency polled over 6K votes, many others polled between 6-12K votes and it is more often than not close to 8-10% of the votes polled.

So, what this means is good clean politics does have a chance. I know most of my colleagues at work don't even have a voter id OR atleast don't go out and vote. But the good thing is that some OR most of them because of me atleast started talking politics. I might be the taboo to some at work today because I went out and openly became a part of politics ... but hopefully, things will change and people who don't participate in politics will one day be a taboo.

And that's also probably the case in 100s of companies around Bangalore. So, if all of them get registered by the time of the next parliamentary elections and even if a small portion of us go out and actively participate in the election process by even just talking to people in our neighbourhood and most importantly, the EC can find a way to eliminate fake/bogus voting completely OR atleast to a large extent, the next election is going to be a close fight and the one after (Municipal elections 2015) will be a cake walk for good clean politics. Let us all work together by associating ourselves with the cleaner parties (AAP, LSP and others) even if you can spend just 2-3 hours per week and continuing this fight onwards towards zero corruption and good governance.

If you want to start this weekend, there is an AAP meeting (https://www.facebook.com/events/431688986927365/?ref=2) that I might try and attend (not sure yet). Ping me or Drop in a comment and I can ask some of my friends to connect to you. Of course, this does not mean I am joining AAP. I have a lot of questions & concerns about AAP including why they chose not to contest this election - but will never know unless I engage with them and some of the other parties.

More about some of these candidates I spoke about at:

PS1: In addition, let's be fair to this campaign and not judge this by the number of votes cast in his favor. We reached over 25K houses door-to-door without doing a big rally of any sort (maybe that was something that could have helped get some belief in his winnability - kind of sad if that's the case considering all of us get irritated by the traffic jams and noise pollution they cause), helped over 4-5K people register (it does look like many either failed to get the voter ids, did not receive it in time OR didn't get the intimation that they could vote with just an EPIC#), reached over 100K people per week on FB (especially in the last two weeks incl. of course people from outside Bommanahalli & well-wishers of Yogesh). Everywhere we went, people responded favorably and expressed the need for such people to come out. We just need more structured build of this rather than reactions such as nothing will happen, we are bound to suffer corrupt politicians, etc.

PS2: Afterthought, while the BJP and Congress have money and muscle power that enables their wins, what they also have is a strong committed group of party workers at the street level and while they themselves with their family not only vote for their party candidate, they are also empowered to solve problems (as heard from certain friends). i.e. If any citizen faces a problem, the citizen reaches out to the party worker in the street and he will call the MLA to get the problem solved (calling police, getting a water tanker, getting a road done, etc). Interesting similarity to a Ward Committee of sorts that all the new politicians are talking about and in a way, becoming the eyes and earls of the leader. The difference is obviously a centrally elected representative instead of the local party worker. Some might say, not much of a difference. Definitely does mean that, for good politics to succeed, we need people coming out in every street and spreading the word, working for the good. All of us should do that, even if it means a few hours a week only OR even to start with, a few hours every month. Almost like your CSR activity for the quarter. What say, folks? :-)