How to organise candidate meets for BBMP elections 2015?

If a residents' group wants meet BBMP candidates, and gauge their capabilities, commitment and integrity, here are some pointers.

Pic: A file pic from BBMP 2010 candidates debate.

It is that time again when everyone wants to make an informed choice, ahead of BBMP elections. Resident Welfare Associations are busy trying to organise meetups with candidates. Citizen Matters has compiled a guide on how to do this, with a set of questions that can be asked with a candidate.

The first step is to collect information about candidates. We need your help to gather information about them and share it with us, to benefit fellow Bengalureans. You could ask them to fill this form. Alternatively, you can also gather the points and share it with your fellow voters as well as Citizen Matters!  Send us along /with the name, party, ward, contact and other details of the candidates.

 Some questions you can ask when they meet you or in a public event.

  • Why are you contesting elections? What do you want to do if you win?

  • How much are you going to spend on the campaign?

  • Do you know how much remuneration a corporator gets? How will you manage your finances, if you win? Do you have any extra source of income that is sufficient to run your family, without depending upon BBMP’s remuneration?

  • How do you want to keep in touch with the public, if you win?

  • How much time do you want to spend on the BBMP work each day? This cannot be your main work surely, as it doesn’t earn you a decent amount per month. (A corporator’s salary is Rs 7,500 to 9,000 per month, or slightly higher, depending upon the standing committee memberships, number of days they attended the council meetings etc.)

  • What are your thoughts about ward committees and areas sabhas? Do you support them? Who do you want to nominate?

  • What are your thoughts about garbage segregation, now that segregation is a rule in Bengaluru?

  • How do you want to ensure people’s participation in administration and works to be undertaken in the wards?

  • How do you want to minimise corruption in administration?

  • How do you want to ensure you will not fall prey to the officials- contractors- corporators’ nexus?

  • How do you want to ensure the problems of potholes, non-collection of garbages etc don’t trouble people? This involves facing the real system and nexus, which is usually a tough experience, where most of the good people start understanding the system. Are you ready for that challenge?

  • What do you want to do if you don’t get elected this time? Will you continue to work, or just take a backseat?

  • For women candidates: Many women get tickets only because this ward is reserved for women, so none of the male aspirants could stand. Is this the case with you too? Will you be free from pressure once elected?

  • For those re-contesting: What do you want to do different than what you did in your last term? Why should people re-elect you? What are your achievements?

Feel free to add your questions in the comment section below!

If you/your RWA are organising a candidate meeting, and are at a loss on how to do this, here are some pointers:

  • Decide how you want to do the interaction and publicise the outcome among residents. Is it one-to-one with each candidate? Or is it a panel discussion involving as many candidates as possible? Are you going to invite local media or cable TV channels to cover the event? Do you want to video-record it and upload on social media? Do you want to write about it and send it as a press note to the media?

  • Divide the responsibilities among the interested. Who will do what? And what is the deadline?

  • Work out the finer details: where is the debate/ discussion going to be conducted? Who will attend it? How many people? What are the arrangements for the meeting? Does this need funds?

  • Talk to the candidates and find out a suitable time in which they can attend. Fix the date, venue/place/ hall, book it if required.

  • Collect the data on the work done by the incumbent corporator in the past, because numbers don’t lie. Analyse the data, find hard facts and points to raise.

  • Work out what you will be asking the candidates and how you plan to highlight the issues that matter.

  • Have fixed slots for each candidate and give some gaps to account for delayed  arrival or if the discussions take too long.

  • Get volunteer translators to help people who do not understand English or Kannada.

  • Get the debates videoed or audio-recorded, post it online so other residents in the ward can view and know the candidates better. We will be happy to share it on Citizen Matters if you send us the link. This will also act as a future reference, so that people can go back to the assurances made by the candidates in future — to help refresh the otherwise temporary public memory.

Some tips:

  • Involve all candidates, to send out a strong signal to all political parties

  • Involve as many residents from the ward as possible.

  • Talk to old ward committee members and involve them in the discussions. They will have a real insight into how the system functions or doesn’t function.

  • If you analyse the data for the ward and ward works, you will get to know your incumbent corporator better. If he or she is re-contesting, debates are a good time to ask hard questions on the performance, fund usage and other issues.

  • Hijacking of such political discussions is a common problem faced by all. Request the candidates not to fill the hall with their own party workers, so that residents get a chance for a frank interaction.

If you conduct any candidate meetings, please forward the recording links to us by email with a small report highlighting the details. We will be happy to publish it on Citizen Matters, your own online local news/analysis magazine for the global city!


Related Articles

BBMP Elections 2015: Special coverage by Citizen Matters
Feeling Bengaluru’s pulse with Citizen Matters pre-BBMP poll survey!
Citizen Action Forum seeks clean BBMP corporators with no conflict of interest
Ward information page: Ward 149 – Varthur

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