Hyderabad: Citizens of Hyderabad are urging fellow-citizens to exercise their right to vote and participate in the great exercise to elect their local urban representatives. There has also been a flurry of activity on the weekend, with residents in complexes, apartments and gated communities coming together to analyse which party or candidate is right for them.
Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) have used their social media groups to propagate the message of the right to vote and the reason why no one must skip voting.
Those living in apartments and gated communities said that if they do not vote, then the elected candidate will not represent any of their problems. For this reason, they have submitted their demands to candidates contesting elections.
B. T. Srinivasan, general secretary, United Federation of Resident Welfare Associations ( UFRWA), says, “this is an opportunity for people and those contesting elections to ensure that demands put forward by welfare associations are implemented. For this reason, we have municipal corporators approaching us to ensure they get votes and promise to resolve our problems.”
There are 4,300 welfare member associations of UFRWA. Each of them have been closely working in their colonies to resolve the local problems and are in touch with municipal officials in their circles. They also represent grievances of people from time to time.
UFRWA has gone one step ahead of collating data of what was promised, delivered and what is pending in each of the colonies under them. In this manner, people are aware of what is happening around them.
Women are more alert as they have strongly objected to use of religion in the campaign leading to GHMC elections. Padma Rao, homemaker, Ramanthapur, says, “we do not want to vote on the basis of religion. We will vote for people who can resolve our problems of infrastructure and encroachments of Musi river. The flooding of homes in Ramanthapur is still fresh. We are not willing to be swayed by high pitched statements.”
Similarly, several people said they are aghast at the brazen distribution of cash and liquor by some parties and candidates. "We will not sell our votes to these people."
Complexes which are close to slums say that they have a perennial problem of garbage dumps outside their colony gates. “Whenever they get it removed, a fresh one is created,” they complain.
Dr B. Srikanth, secretary of Sri Venkateshwara Colony Welfare Association, Narayanaguda, said, “these basti people do not allow garbage pick-up vans inside as they cannot pay the monthly amount. To avoid it, they have made heaps of garbage outside our colony. We have understood that as they vote in elections, they have misused and managed political clout. But since we are also a good number of voters, all residents have been urged to exercise their right so we can ensure this heap does not accumulate outside our homes.”
These local issues are going to drive many people to come out of their comfort zones and vote. The polling percentage was 42.04 per cent in 2009 and 45.29 per cent in 2016. Since many people think these numbers need to improve, there is a major focus on encouraging youngsters to come out and vote.
Arun Daniel, founder of Youngistaan Foundation says, “We are urging urban youngsters on social media to vote. We always say, when we never go out to hangout alone, why not do the same with voting? Go together with friends to vote. There are over 1,000 volunteers in different peer groups organized to ensure they get their friends out of their homes to vote.”
Messages have started going around on social media urging people to go out and vote for betterment of society. One reads, “it is better to spare a few minutes to cast your vote rather than regret later that your vote would have made all the difference.”...