Local bodies and elections

Last evening, my neighbour, who is also the president of the local resident’s welfare association, briefly dropped in to hand over my mother’s voting chit. And dropped in a line asking us to vote for a particular party. “This guy has done excellent work in his previous term as MLA”, he said, “and we’ll all benefit if he is gets elected”.

So what I learnt from that little conversation is that the president of our RWA is well-acquainted with this particular candidate. Just to give you a bit of a background, the RWA in our area has been fairly active in its 20 odd years of existence. Most people living around here own their houses, which is an important reason for the RWA to be successful. Some things, such as an annual picnic or sports day, have stopped, but the RWA seems to be doing its core job of representing the area pretty well in terms of general “issues”.

Now, there is an obvious advantage in supporting the guy whom my RWA is supporting. For example, if there is any issue for which I’ll need to reach out to my MLA (ok the probability of this is minimal but still, … ) I know that the president of my RWA has a rapport with him and so it’ll be easier to reach him. Another thing is that given the support of the RWA here, this guy is likely to do good for this particular locality than some other. Yet another reason I might want to vote for my RWA’s choice is that this guy’s opponent knows that my area hasn’t really supported him this election, so he might not really do much for our locality.

We see that there are several reasons why voting for the guy that my RWA supports is going to be good for me. However, is that reason enough to vote for this guy ? What about his party? I’m not sure if this guy’s party is going to give me 5 years of stable government and from that perspective would want to vote for his main opponent. What should my main consideration be as a voter? To vote for the MLA who will be best for me or to vote for the guy who will probably give the best government?

I wonder if this kind of an argument is good enough in the presidential vs parliamentary debate. The main problem with the parliamentary system is that you have only one vote that ties together both your choice for local leader as well as the government. So, in case a particular party doesn’t do a good job of selecting its candidate, it might stand to lose. Or if someone is part of a party which is “not good enough for him” he tends to lose again. And I still don’t know whether to vote on local or global issues.

Coming back, I wonder if my RWA is doing the right thing by taking a stand on this issue. I mean wouldn’t it have been better for them to maintain relationship with all major candidates, and thus hedge their bets? Given what they have done now, it seems like if their candidate loses, we as a locality might stand to lose.

And I’m still wondering who to vote for. This is provided my name is on the list.

My post on BJP’s Bangalore South candidates has drawn huge response. Most of the replies, interestingly, are regarding the caste of K Chandrashekar, the Congress candidate from Basavanagudi (under which my house falls). So far, there has been claim that he is from all possible major castes in Bangalore other than Lingayat – Brahmin, Vokkaliga, SC and Kuruba (OBC) have all been taken care of. Does anyone know his caste? (not that it will matter in my final decision. just a “good to know” variable)

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