The Forum For Good Governance (FGG) has teamed up with 20 civil society organisations to form an ‘Election Watch’ collective for the upcoming Hyderabad municipal corporation elections. The aim of the collective is to boost voter turnout and inform the public about their options on candidates. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections will be held sometime after January 15 and before the end of February 2021, when the term of the present corporators ends.
The Election Watch collective will make a list of all candidates contesting the elections, provide details on their educational qualifications and list out any criminal charges against them. "We will also be focusing on ensuring more voters enrol in the voter list and turn up to vote," said M Padmanabha Reddy, president of the Forum for Good Governance (FGG), who lamented that voter turnout for GHMC elections in Hyderabad has been historically lower than Assembly elections, “much like the rest of the metros in the country.”
The Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) is presently undertaking a Special Summary Revision of photo electoral rolls with a deadline of January 1, 2021. The Greater Hyderabad region alone has 42 lakh voters. Claims and objections over electoral rolls are to be submitted to the SEC between November 16 and December 15. The disposal of these claims and objections will be done by January 5, 2021. The final electoral roll will be published on January 15, after which the dates for the elections will be announced.
“Our people go one day before the elections and urge people to go out and vote,” said Padmanabha Reddy, who underlined ‘a nothing will change’ attitude among the educated class towards civic issues as key reasons among poor voter turnout for GHMC polls.
At the 120 municipalities and nine corporations across Telangana that saw an election this year, 70.27% voter turnout was registered. Hyderabad is presently suffering the brunt of an ongoing pandemic and floods. “It has to be seen how the public perceives the response of the elected corporators to the pandemic, the lockdown and the floods. But the election is three months away and public memory is short-lived,” opined Reddy.