‘Why should I vote for you?’ is a question around 2,000 residents of Padmashali colony in Hyderabad will be asking political party candidates seeking their votes for the upcoming Telangana elections.
The residents have prepared a set of ten questions for the candidates that come knocking at their doors and will only vote for those candidates whose answers they find “acceptable”.
“We have to ask these questions as there is no other way to review the work done by those we elect to power,” says R Anjaneyulu, the Padmashali colony resident welfare association General Secretary, spearheading the initiative.
Here are some of the questions being asked by the residents:
Are you an active participant in assembly proceedings?”
“What is the percentage of attendance in your last tenure?”
"Have you fully utilized your constituency development funds?"
"What type of developmental activity was carried out with the funds?"
"Other than development funds how much could you spend for your constituency under which scheme?"
"What are your achievements as an MLA or minister?"
"Can you get your answer to the above question certified from assembly secretory?"
"Are you regularly visiting the public in your constituency and representing their genuine needs?"
The 59-year old says he has been voting for candidates all his life but felt the public has no means to review the performance of elected representatives, “Many in the public do not even know what their roles and responsibilities are,” he added.
The problem arises as the roles and responsibilities of Member of Legislative Assembly and Councils are not laid out clearly in the Indian constitution. Often people reach out to their local MLAs and MLCs about civic issues and for local development. However, those tasks are to be executed by municipal bodies(like GHMC, HMDA) and Panchayat councils formed under the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Indian constitution.
“People often get confused about the roles and responsibilities of these elected officials. Our campaign effort here is to give the representatives a semblance of accountability so they execute the roles they were elected for,” said the 59-year-old.
The Padmashali colony comes under the Musheerabad assembly constituency, an assembly seat presently held by K Laxman, the Telangana state president for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He will be contesting from the constituency again and has promised the residents to answer their form with questions.
While the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is yet to decide on a candidate, the seat is being internally contested within the party by M Gopal, the TRS party constituency in-charge and Srinivas Reddy, Ramnagar corporator and son in law of the caretaker home minister Nani Narasimha Reddy.
Telangana Congress-led mahakutami is also yet to announce their candidate for the constituency.
“Whoever be the candidate filed by the political party, the questions will be the same,” says Anjaneyulu who wants the campaign to succeed "akin to the #MeToo movement."