48664Mumbai: Pick Your Six
- Mar 1, 2009Mumbai, choose your leaders
By: Vinay Somani
Sunday Mid-day, cover page
Anyone can stand for elections. A look at our politicians shows that. But
why shouldn't a city (this one) get the right leaders? All it takes is the
first step. Starting now
Former cop Kiran Bedi tops Mumbai's wish-list of leaders. Followed by
Mumbai's former police chief Julio Ribeiro, architect of Thane's success T
Chandrashekhar, RTI crusader Shailesh Gandhi, demolition man G R Khairnar,
actor and activist Shabana Azmi, IT guru Narayan Murthy and former President
A P J Kalam. These are the people who were given the thumbs up by Mumbaiites
participating in an online poll.
MPs Milind Deora and Priya Dutt were re-nominated by participants and got
enough votes to get into the top 10 (along with the others above).
The list speaks for itself. Mumbai is looking for strong leaders. Voters saw
this list of people as being the ones who could deliver a city bruised on
many fronts by natural calamities and terrorism. Recent leaders clearly
failed to inspire awe or even hope.
Some of the people voted for in the list, i.e. Kiran Bedi, Narayan Murthy
and A P J Kalam are not even Mumbaiites. But an Indian of any address can
contest the elections from any part of the country. Citizens who will vote
in the next General Elections know this, and have clearly voted for the
right leaders over leaders with the right address.
Tomorrow, the election commission will announce the dates for the next
General Elections. And political parties will announce candidates for the
six parliamentary constituencies in Mumbai. If you had to choose your MPs,
who would you pick and why?
Send us your list of 6 MPs for Mumbai along with one sentence (only) giving
the reason for your choice. Send your list as an email to
smdmail@... or via SMS, VOTE (SPACE) answer, with your name, to
Please select people who you think would be competent to represent you, have
a larger perspective of what the city needs, and capable of improving
Your votes to this poll could influence the right kind of people and
encourage them to stand in the next elections. Here are the things to keep
You can select anyone (including yourself) from any field of life e.g.
social service, academics, sports, business, media, legal, government
Pick persons from Mumbai or Maharashtra; while anyone who is a registered
voter in India can stand for election, it is unlikely that persons from
outside Mumbai will decide to contest in Mumbai, instead of in their own
Pick persons from outside political parties, as political parties have
in-built mechanisms based on which they nominate persons. Moreover, this
initiative is aimed at encouraging new people to contest
A list of the most nominated persons will be published to encourage them to
take the plunge.
Become an Informed Voter
Want to know more about the election process?
Here's how to get familiar with and start learning about the electoral
process, how to register as a voter, how to vote, who to vote for, who not
to vote for, how to stand for elections, etc. Here are some websites that
help to know about the election process and understand it better:
1. Election Commission of India: www.eci.gov.in
This is the official website of the Election Commission of India. It has
detailed information on how the electoral system functions, FAQs, electoral
rolls, relevant laws and rules, etc.
2. Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra: www.ceo.maharashtra.gov.in
This is the website of the Chief Electoral Officer, who conducts all
elections in Maharashtra. The website has sections on a Voter's Helpline,
Candidate's Helpline, list of electoral officers, etc.
3. Association for Democratic Reforms: www.adrindia.org
Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) is a non-political, non-partisan
and non-governmental organisation. It was founded professors from IIM-A and
NID to work towards electoral reforms and political process reforms.
4. Meet Our MPs and MLAs of India: www.mpmla.in
This website facilitates communication between people and their respective
MPs / MLAs. People can put across their grievance/ appreciation to their
MP/MLA who can then respond and address the issue. You can also comment on
the performance of your MP or MLA.
5. Empowering India: www.empoweringindia.org
Empowering India is an initiative of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi. It
allows citizens and civil society groups to access data about their elected
representatives, and state and parliamentary level constituencies. This data
can be used for making informed choices about which candidate to cast your
vote for, and also for holding your elected representatives and the
political parties accountable for the deliverables that they have promised
in their election manifestos.
6. VoteIndia: www.voteindia.in
This is a project launched in the quest for good governance. It aims to
inculcate the importance of politics and the importance of voting by
creating awareness about voter registration, rules and regulations for
7. The Informed Mumbai Voter Project: www.mumbaivotes.com
This website provides comprehensive and reliable information about your
local political representative. Newspaper articles on every elected
representative are regularly posted on the website. You can vote about an
elected representative's current performance, thus creating a comparative
ranking for all elected representatives.
The truth about Rule 49 (O)
Forget that email which you received and what your friends are telling you!
Here are the facts about Section 49 (O) of Conduct of Election Rules
What exactly does the rule say?
49 (O) Elector deciding not to vote.
If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the
register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression
thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record
his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in
Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of
the elector shall be obtained against such remark.
(From Conduct of Election Rules (Statutory Rules and Order) 1[Chapter II]
Voting by Electronic Voting Machine)
Can using Rule 49 (O) lead to a re-poll?
The Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra, has clarified that "The
presumption that there shall be a re-poll in case 'none of the above' votes
are more than the votes cast to a candidate, is totally wrong and
misleading. Beyond the fact that such a vote can be cast under Rule 49 (O),
there is no rule of re-poll on the basis of number of votes polled under
such rule. This is only a rumour going on for some time without anyone
trying to get it confirmed with any authority."
Recently, the Election Commission of India in an official statement said
that "the candidate who polls the highest number of votes would be declared
the winner even if the ballots cast under the no-voting facility exceeds his
winning margin. The Commission said Rule 49 (O) of the Conduct of Elections
allowed the electorate the option to not vote for any candidate. This did
not mean that an election would be invalidated if the number of such voters
is more than the candidate's victory margin."
How to make every vote count?
Using 49 (O) is not the way to show that your vote counts this is a negative
vote that shows that you could not decide whom to support from amongst the
available candidates. There are two simple ways to make your vote count:
Vote for the most suitable candidate (see 'Become an Informed Voter' to know
Encourage the candidate of your choice to stand (see 'Mumbai: Pick Your Six
MPs' to know how)
Know your Parliamentary Constituency
There are six Parliamentary constituencies in Mumbai; their boundaries have
been recently re-drawn as part of the de-limitation exercise so that each
constituency has the same number of people. (as per the principle of
To find out which Parliamentary constituency you are in, see
What would make you vote?
Responses to this question from citizens revealed the following reasons: I
>>if my vote countswww.karmayog.org/vote helps you decide "Why Vote?"
>>if I have enough information about confirmation of my name on the voter's
>>list, the polling booth, the procedure of voting
>>if it is a convenient and easy process to vote
>>if I have enough information about the candidate to be able to make an
>>if the person who I vote for is accountable
>>if the process of voting is a fair and just one
>>if the person elected intends to and attends to the issues in my area
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