Behind the gala speeches and roadshows of candidates are ward corporators who have become key players this election. They are using their grassroot-urban connect to help Lok Sabha aspirants garner voter support.
In fact, the performance of a corporator has a bearing on the winnability of the Lok Sabha candidate, said Congress’ DJ Halli corporator R Sampath Raj. He has taken his party’s Bangalore North candidate C Narayanaswamy to meet voters in key locations in the ward.
“We have booth-level teams that are interacting with voters. While people acknowledge the good work we have done, they also report the problems they face,” he said.
Bangalore South candidate from Janata Dal (Secular), Ruth Manorama, has been visiting parks and other public places. “We have assembled 10 party workers for every polling station. Messages are being sent and phone calls are being made about our candidate,” said R Prakash, Kaveripura corporator and Manorama’s election agent.
Cashing in on Familiarity
“While the party machinery identifies the locations, we make all arrangements for the visits. Depending on our work record and accessibility, voters identify us and show support to our MP candidates,” Raj said.
Corporators also form a crucial part of traditional campaigning methods like distribution of printed material and door-to-door campaigns.
BJP’s Yediyur ward corporator N R Ramesh said he has printed three sets of handouts — one each for development works undertaken in the ward, contributions of sitting Bangalore South MP H N Ananthkumar and why Narendra Modi fits the prime ministerial profile.
“There are more than 8,000 homes in the ward. Election or not, we go out every Sunday from 6.45 am to 10.30 am to interact with people and this familiarity helps our candidates,” Ramesh said.
The RWA Connect
Corporators are also reaching out to resident welfare associations (RWA) to seek support for candidates. “In Yediyur, there are 19 RWAs, 37 Stree Shakti groups, one walkers’ association and 13 laughter clubs. Our candidate has personally met all of them,” Ramesh said.
N Mukund, joint secretary, Citizen’s Action Forum, which represents 76 RWAs in the city, said corporators invite them for meetings and campaigns.
“The parties always try to meet presidents and secretaries of RWAs in the hope that their message will trickle down to the members,” Mukund said.
“As an RWA, we cannot support a single party,” said KSFC Layout RWA president Jayaseelan. “I get SMSes from several parties seeking support from our members. What we do is ensure voter enrolment. But we cannot ask people to support any party,” he added.
Rate Leaders on ‘Netamaker’
Bangalore: A group of management consultants, based overseas, have provided internet users a means to rate their netas on a social networking themed site.
‘Netamaker’ has joined the virtual space dedicated to Lok Sabha polls by launching its website, which, the founders say, is “an internet-based forum to exchange ideas”. The website www.netamaker.com offers visitors the option to rank candidates based on parameters like ability to prevent corruption, control price rise, ensure women’s safety, job creation, law and order, infrastructure development, communal harmony and delivering on poll promises. The ratings change in real time.
Saji Salam, an NRI who set up the initiative, said, “Today’s politicians would like to change with the 500 million social media-savvy citizens below the age of 35. We will be launching a smartphone app soon. Currently, we have a subscription of 30,000 Facebook users.”