After the 12 day rigorous campaign in April-May, for a party which I no longer support, it was time to hit the road again.
Went door2door to urge voters to participate in the Smartvotes initiative. This is regarding the upcoming local bodies election. I didn't cover too many homes this morning, but spent better part of the day meeting other volunteers at the 5th Cross, 'Fountain' park in Koramangala 4th Block.
Here's a heads up on the Koramangala Smartvotes project:
1. Its an initiative by folks @ smartvote.in. They were active during the Lok Sabha elections too.
2. Koramangala Smartvotes campaign is limited to ward 151 of BBMP. This ward has about 30,000 voters. Last time about 4000 people voted and the winning candidate got about 1300 votes. I don't know if there was a dumb voters initiative last time, that can explain the numbers.
3. What are the objectives?
a. inform the voters of ward 151, that BBMP elections are scheduled for February 21, 2010.
b. encourage residents to contest the election. but there is a catch. this is a women only, backward classes constituency. I can't contest. We call this idiocy a democracy, sigh!
c. after nominations are complete, collect profiles of all the candidates and distribute physical copies to the voters at their homes.
d. organize a debate between the contestants in a public place in Koramangala. publicize the date and venue to the voters.
e. organize a pre-election opinion poll through SMS. the winner of this poll will be endorsed as the Smartvotes consensus candidate. This provision seems to be controversial even among the volunteers. But I'm fine with it.
f. help select a Citizens council which will interact and assist the eventual Councellor in looking after the affairs of the ward. As I understand there is no reservation etc for this council. The selection will be thru blockwise consensus among interested individuals.
4. What one can do?
a. Join the campaign, listen to the debate, vote in the opinion poll and if interested, support the consensus candidate in the actual polls on Feb 21.
b. Become a volunteer like me, contest the election and/or become a member of the citizen's council.
c. Chip in with funds etc.
5. For more details:
a. website http://www.smartvote.in/koramangala/
b. facebook group.
c. twitter http://twitter.com/smartvote/
6. My take:
The efficiency of a political party in running the campaign is missing, but thats understandable. I would like it to be a citizens' movement rather than a volunteer driven effort. Getting volunteers and locality enthusiasts is taking a lot of effort.
While the project is non-partisan, I guess many volunteers are liberals. I ofcourse willingly disclosed that I'm a conservative (as in classical liberal). So if you are from a party I abandoned recently, you might want to join and diversify the grouping.
On the whole, I think I'll be volunteering several sundays in the next two months.