1st of Feb is poll day for the Pune civic elections. I have been going through manifestos, leaflets and other material provided by candidates in the Law College Ward Pune. However I am still very much a marginal voter.
Anti-incumbency is definitely at work. Like many other Puneites, I too feel that those in power for the past 5 years were one of the worst ever. The administration seemed more busy in announcing new schemes, holding press meets and irrelevant functions than doing any real work or improving the infrastructure of the city.
But unfortunately I doubt if the alternative to the current administration is any better.
Raj Thackeray of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) does talk sense on TV. But unfortunately the local leaders of the party are not that impressive. Educational qualifications also do not seem to be a consideration during selection of candidates.
Dr. Vaijyanti Patwardhan of Congress looks like a good candidate. She is a doctor by profession who also writes on health matters. By and large women are better candidates than men as they are more connected with social issues. Also Patwardhan doesn’t look like a career politician.
What works against Patwardhan is that she belongs to the Congress party, which is the incumbent party and primarily to blame for the ruin of Pune over the past few years. Kalmadi driven Congress has been the ruling party in Pune for quite some time and hence they have to accept responsibility for things that have gone wrong with the city. I was quite annoyed by the Congress instead shrugging responsibility and blaming other parties for not cooperating.
I have written earlier about what works for and against BJP+ShivSena’s Mathkari. His election literature however has been disappointing as it said nothing about what he plans to do for the area.
NCP seems like the third major player. Their manifesto looks decent enough.
I guess for most seats it would be BJP+Shiv Sena vs Congress vs NCP.
A few other points for consideration-
Independent Candidates – I could vote for an independent candidate and there are some decent ones around. But I don’t think they have a great chance of winning. So my vote will not help get the corporator I want.
Party Loyalties – I don’t think these should be a factor in civic elections. National issues like terrorism, secularism, religious apeacement, etc. are relevant for state or national elections, but are not very relevant for these elections. Party philosophies don’t matter much for general local development issues.