September 24, 2011

Chennai Corporation Poll 2011: Want to Contest?

It is over four months since Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) were elected. But the man who represents the Velachery Assembly constituency still has not opened an office this side of the area, in Adyar.
M. K. Ashok of the AIADMK has his base in Velachery. A few local associations there were quick to invite him over for a meet, share their woes and get some assurances.
To be fair to Ashok, he has also toured the leeward side of his zone but only when some civic-minded residents badgered him.
He promised to open an office in Thiruvanmiyur two months ago. That has not happened. The Assembly sessions must have kept him busy. Crossing the chaotic Vijayanagar terminus is also a bother!
However, his party colleague who got elected from Mylapore, R. Rajalakshmi not only carved an office space at a local Corporation complex but also publicised her new e-mail address.
Is some one out there maintaining a MLA Report Card?
The process of elections to local civic bodies has just begun.
You and I will be called to choose our local councillors, the men and women who can talk for us on local issues at the Corporation's Council and get things done.
Political parties have already got into the act and their caravans will soon be criss-crossing our neighbourhoods.
This time, with Greater Chennai a reality, urban panchayats/municipalities have been brought under the civic body and hence, residents of these areas (like the ECR) will also vote for their councillors.
Are we thinking of encouraging civic-minded people, elders and activists to stand in this grassroot -level poll?
They say there is no space for candidates who are not backed by or are from political parties?
Should this discourage young people and seniors who have been at the forefront of activism on issues like waste disposal, water harvesting, beach restoration and law and order?
Projects worth many crores of rupees are suggested by a councillor during the five-year tenure. Much of this is actually 'advised' by the civic body and is not the choice of residents of that ward.
In some cases, the councillor is hardly seen in the ward.
This is the time for committed people of the area to stand up and throw the cap in the ring.
By the way, your ward number has changed. Info is available at the Chennai Corporation's web site.

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