Your next mayor will be from a newly carved out area of Bangalore — Shettihalli, North Bangalore. Sharadamma, 45, a first-time corporator and X standard pass, was chosen on Thursday as the city's mayor. The formal election will be held on Friday. This term has been reserved for woman from scheduled caste (SC).
Sharadamma is said to be gentle. But, sources close to Mr Ashoka, the minister backing her, said outgoing mayor S K Nataraj was from South Bangalore. This time, it was appropriate to give a chance to the other region in the city. This apart, Ashoka wanted to pay back to Shettihalli, which falls in Dasarahalli assembly segment, that shaped his formative days in political career.
For the full report in the ToI, click here.
And, below are the excerpts from a Mid-Day report (full report may be accessed here):
Many felt that Sharadamma could not handle the responsibility because of her limited educational background; besides, they felt that she was not articulate. Though Roopa has an edge over Sharadamma, the political equation seems to be in the former's favour. Sharadamma is backed by political heavyweights like R Ashok, minister for home and transport, while MLA Satish Reddy is throwing his weight behind Roopa.
"Sharadamma and Roopa are first-time councillors and are equally qualified. Most leaders were in favour of Roopa because of her better educational qualification and knowledge over issues relating to the city.
Although, the mayor's post calls for better exposure in terms of educational qualification and administration skills in order to match the requirement of a city like Bangalore, it has to be settled between the ladies because of the reservation.
"The city administration needs common sense rather than formal educational qualification. A poorly-educated person can also prove the best at administration, and this is the charm of democracy," said B V Ganesh, a BJP councillor.
When MiD DAY tried to call Sharadamma, her husband Ramanjaneya received the call and chose to answer on her behalf. "Usually husbands of women councillors attend to public interactions on their behalf, so I answered the call," he said. "I know it will be a tough fight between my wife and Roopa, but let me tell you, Sharadamma can mange the post well. However, we leave this to our leaders to decide," he added. He said he was also just an SSLC pass, but claimed to have a sound general knowledge.
The deputy mayor's post is reserved for backward class (category A) and B Somashekar (Shakabai Nagar), seen as a close associate of state BJP president K S Eswarappa and a fellow Kuruba, is tipped to take it over.
Out of 198 councilors, only 26 are graduates and 60 are not even matriculate. Over 25 have passed SSLC, while the rest hold qualifications like PUC, diplomas and Industrial Training (ITI)
Even at the cost of sounding elitist, I must say that all of the above makes for extremely depressing reading. In the first place, such people have got elected because of a faulty electoral system, whereby over 50% of eligible voters, on an average across constituencies, have been denied their voting rights because of an unprofessional and unfriendly registration procedure, and then, on top of it all, are these reservations along various lines, making for a total mockery of the entire process. How can anybody hope for any better level of governance with such people in key positions?
Now, rightly or wrongly, the country's electoral rules consider any adult citizen, who has been resident at an address for more than 6 months, eligible to vote in an election in the constituency in which the address falls. And, given today's turbulent economic and hence job market scenario, the system calls for facilitation of transfers across constituencies, not just within the state, but across the whole of the country, and speedily too. Very clearly, the archaic system currently in use by the SEC/ NIC combo is nowhere capable of that, and, consequently, we today have a scenario wherein huge swathes of the population remain deprived of their basic democratic rights.
Integration across the country will perhaps call for a link up with the UID project. Whatever, the job calls for far more professionalism than the capacities presently at the command of the SEC/ NIC combo, and therefore the urgent need for engaging companies like TCS (who have currently been entrusted the job of undertaking all the back-end work connected with issual of passports) to undertake it.
The rare good minister, Mr S Suresh Kumar, has appreciated this - check this. But, the others are happy retaining control through their stooges in order to pursue their vested interests. Mr Arvind Kejriwal, IAC (India Against Corruption) had stated that electoral reforms was their next priority. While Association for Democratic Reforms is doing a good job looking into the various acts of electoral malpractices (check this), the matter of having a professional agency preparing and maintaining the electoral list across the country has not received the necessary attention in desperately needs. Hopefully, IAC appreciates the need and pursue the matter to its logical end.
PS: And, can we dispense with the usage of anachronisms such as 'worshipful', belonging to the 'Raaj' era, when referring to anyone, however high his position, in today's world, please?