Every election leaves behind valuable lessons on how to win people's mandate, or rather how to avoid their wrath.

For the victorious candidates, the loser and the cause of the defeat are perhaps the best case study to avert a similar fate befalling them when the next election comes calling.

For debutants in positions of power, those lessons can prove even more helpful. In that sense, the debutant councilors of Thrikkakara municipality seem to have learned the cardinal principle – be with the people; always.

In fact, it was the unsympathetic attitude meted out to her by the former member representing her ward that prompted Kunjamma Kunjappan, who won from the Thengott ward, to jump on the election bandwagon.

“The experience of approaching the member for help was painful. After all, it's in times of need people want their (people's representatives) support,” Ms. Kunjappan says.

She is determined to work hard to be remembered as a people-friendly councillor. She has set supply of drinking water, electricity, and maintenance of drainage system as her priority areas, to begin with.

Manoop P.C., who won from the health centre ward, wants to do the maximum possible work for his ward during the next five years and let his work be his campaign for another term.

He doesn't want to see the councillor's role as a mere stepping stone to higher echelons of power.

“Do the work and the rest will be taken care of by itself. If I serve the people well, they will assure my victory in the next election and I need not bother about even printing a poster,” he feels.

Mr. Manoop believes that apathy towards people's needs and the unimaginative development vision that often led to lapse of funds running into crores of rupees caused the downfall of the Left Democratic Front.

During the 10 years when they were in power in Thrikkakara panchayat they couldn't bring about any qualitative change in the lives of people, he says.

T.S. Radhamani, another first time councillor, who won from the NGO Quarters ward, agrees saying that hollow promises and lack of proactive approach in working towards the welfare of people proved costly for the last governing committee.

“We have also given promises. But only those which we are confident of meeting within our limits,” she says.

Shereena Shukoor, who won from the Vazhakala East ward, considers it important to study the reasons for the defeat of the former governing committee.

“Based on it, a master plan for the comprehensive development of Thrikkakara should be drawn up to ensure that the new council does not meet a similar fate,” Ms. Shukoor says.

The councillors were unanimous in choosing waste management as the gravest issue faced by the municipality and were determined to work out a solution.

The determination is there, so are the promises. It's still early days and only time will tell whether they are any different from their predecessors.

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