Manoj Rai raised his concern over the Manipulating Municipal Governance? Read below and join in the conversation!
Recently concluded MCD elections in Delhi on 15th April have thrown some interesting questions. Some of the highlights of election processes, beside usual chorus and blame games among different political parties, have been:
(i) Media was regularly raising number of issues ranging from poor development to proxy women candidates.
(ii) Other apolitical actors were also equally engaged to aware common citizens about importance of participation in voting process.
(iii) Polling percentage has increased significantly by 12-16% to record first ever 55-58% polling figure, as the initial estimates suggest.
These results are encouraging. But what worries most is between the lines of comments from State Election Commissioner Mr Rakesh Mehta. He said, “If it wasn’t for the apathy of the upper middle-class areas such as Greater Kailash, Vasant Kunj and Vasant Vihar, the voter percentage would have been even higher.” What does that mean? Does upper middle class damn care for their local governments and service from them?
Though at this stage that it can’t be conclusively claimed that in general upper middle class is apathetic to urban governance. But it cannot be out rightly rejected if we take into account experiences from other cities. So, situation could be somewhere in between. If that is the case then?
We all know that this urban upper middle class is often in the seats power, which make policies and programmes to strengthen (or weaken) urban local governance. So, what (is) would be consequence of their apathy towards municipalities. Who will strengthen capacities of municipalities to deliver development?
If upper middle class avail basic services from private service providers then the question could be who all are stakeholders in municipal services? One may also extrapolate to ask, whether only poor have expectations from public institutions: government schools/hospitals forced to degrade their services and so, reduced to cater poor and marginalized only.
We all know that upper middle class defacto controls these institutions through politico-bureaucratic means. Do then voting is the only opportunity for poor to influence at least one municipal process called election?
With so many questions, what lies in future for municipal governance?