What’s different this elections?

Citizen Matters Magazine – Vol 1 Issue 5

Dear Readers,

Happy Ugadi to you all! Elections are around. Well they’ve always been around you might say. After all our democracy is over 60-years-old now. What’s different this time? No, not really, it’s not the politics. It’s not the policy promises either.

It’s the interest in voting amongst the middle and upper classes — the groups who are usually scorned by politicians and NGOs as too aloof to dirty their hands with ‘running to file a form’ or ‘going to the booth to stand in line to vote’. Scores of hitherto non-voters are now adding themselves to the rolls around the country.

Bengaluru is no exception. In a pattern that was seen earlier last year during the state assembly elections, this time too, last-minute voter registrations have become a mini-fever for the well-educated. The long lines at BBMP’s voter facilitation centres (VFCs) last Saturday (21st March) morning and evening were a telling story.

Not surprisingly, the lines were a close-enough representation of the country numerous classes of income. At the Madiwala BBMP VFC, there were people from the upper-middle income groups all the way down to vegetable vendor-women. Pens were going around, citizens requesting and serving blank forms to each other….in general there was an atmosphere of decency and helpfulness amidst everyone lined up.

For their part, while the authorities must be complimented on keeping registration offices open in the afternoons from 4pm-8pm (a visionary measure), the bad news begins there.

A timely, accurate and comprehensive list of voter centres within and outside municipal limits seems like a Holy Grail for our local officials. The result: numerous complaints of wrong centre addresses, phone numbers, unclear timings, unfamiliarity with the organisation of voter centres by geographical units, and more. For people outside BBMP limits, it has been that much harder.
The silver lining for civil society has been multiple awareness campaigns, prominent amongst them being the corporate-sponsored Jaagore. There has been a clear impact, even as other factors are bound to be at play for the rising interest levels in voting.

On that positive note, we’re pleased to tell you that the Citizen Matters turned one-year-old this month. We are now followed online by over 23,000 citizens like you from around Bengaluru and we hope to keep serving you with more and more useful local news and information.

Till next time, Subbu Vincent


  1. Nayana Shah says:

    For me, the biggest thing different this election is that I have someone to vote for.

    I’ve always been a very reluctant voter – lack of choice being the biggest reason. This time around, I have a choice in Krishna Byre Gowda -he seems to have a vision which I share, he has an understanding of the system to know how to have that vision implemented…..to me it cant get better than this.

    Am suddenly excited about the future of India…..and not without reason !

    Krishna nee begane (Delhi)baro.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

The Why of Citizen Activism

In an earlier post, I wrote about the rise of the citizen entrepreneurs. Thought Iโ€™ll share why these active citizens do what they do. I am including myself in this club because I still volunteer occasionally. Many of our team members are engaged in their own local issues (but we ensure that is independent of our work at Citizen Matters!).ย  Satisfaction First of course, is the immediate sense of empowerment โ€” that we get when we start doing something. Whether or not there are results to show. Sometimes there is a feeling of being better than the rest, because hey,…

Similar Story

Partnering with Canadian varsity to report on urban resilience

It's yet another milestone in the journey of Oorvani Foundation. You may have read about our joint initiative with Radio Active Community Radio 90.8 MHz - Co Media Lab. The community media lab serves as a resource centre, newsroom and a space for dialogues and discussions for community collaborations. The past few months now, Co Media Lab has been organising workshops for public and for students. Co Media Lab is hosted at Jain University, and supported by the University. (More details here.) We are happy to share news of an exciting new project of the lab - a partnership with…