Monday, August 1, 2011

Mumbai Mirror: 31/7/2011 City to pull many adolfs out of the hat this BMC poll

City to pull many adolfs out of the hat this BMC poll

Juhu’s Ward 63 preparing a blueprint for other ALMs on how they can elect ‘citizen corporators’ of their own
Geeta Desai
 Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome! Freakin' Awesome!
Posted On Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 02:57:53 AM
Politicians, those creatures who seem omnipresent when elections are in sight, have been cranking up the volume leading to the February, 2012 BMC elections.

There's talk of morchas and bandhs and welfare of the command man. But many scarred Mumbaikars have already begun exploring the radical alternative.

Taking a leaf from the victory in the last elections of Adolf D'Souza, India's first-ever citizen corporator, and his sound performance these past four years, a number of Area Locality Managements have queued up to elect their own citizen corporator.

Flooded with requests on how they did this, Ward 63, of which Juhu is a part, is readying a roadmap for these other ALMs.

“There have been a lot of requests, and we’re in the process of preparing a blue-print for the other areas on whom to pick, and how to go about ensuring the person they want, gets elected,” Sherley Singh, the secretary of the Juhu Scheme Resident Association, told Mumbai Mirror. “A number of group discussions and brain-storming sessions have been going on in our area for the last few months.”

The biggest question, of course, is how to select candidates who will not only appeal to the electorate but also live up to their expectations if they go on to win. Pointers for this, naturally, are being taken from Adolf himself, and from what has made him such a hit.

Since his election, Adolf has been credited for clearing Irla nullah of encroachments, including the office of a private security agency that was being backed by then Revenue Minister Narayan Rane; for widening drains; for cleaning Juhu beach; for providing better medical facilities in the area at a lower cost; for renovating Cooper hospital; and for resurrecting a defunct school building for lower middle-class students.

Following Adolf’s success story, residents of other wards - Chembur, Santacruz, Khar, Bandra and Gorai, to name a few - have approached Ward 63 to ask how they can get a citizen corporator of their own.

Aftab Siddiquie, a member of the H-West Residents Association, said the idea of electing their citizen candidate was being very actively explored in her locality. “We are overwhelmed with the success of Adolf in Juhu. This is very encouraging and we’re planning to get a similar corporator of our choice,” she said.

Gerson D’ Cunha of Agni, another citizens group, said this move by citizens could change the face of how Mumbai is governed. “Sufficient good candidates, when elected, can play a vital role in a democratic set-up as they have an impact on important issues that concern citizens’ welfare. They give voters the motivation to come forward and cast their ballot, which is otherwise lacking.”

When contacted, Adolf said that he was humbled with the response he was receiving, and was trying to help each ward that has approached him. “We’re coming up with new ideas and fine-tuning guidelines to arrive at a common platform that can help people elect their own candidates. Lots of NGOs from South Mumbai have invited us to help them. We will give them presentations and get all the groups in the area under one umbrella,” he said.

“This will start happening as early as next week.”

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