Are voters aware of how competent the candidates are?

MYSORE, APRIL 29. Voters are seldom aware of the qualities or level of competence of the candidates contesting the elections, not to speak of their "achievements."

Not that efforts were not made in the past to ferret out information about the candidates, but the aspirants were not exactly forthcoming. Yet, an interesting exercise undertaken by the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has brought to light some "traits" of nine candidates, who were prepared to be interviewed in the "Know your candidate" programme.

These candidates spoke of their "achievements" and their "vision" for their respective wards. Interestingly, only two of the nine interviewed were residents of the ward from which they were contesting the elections. If most of them are to be believed, not having changed their party since the past five years itself is a singular achievement!

Mr. M.C.Chikkanna has completed his PUC and is a merchant by profession. There are no criminal cases pending against him and he has been elected twice. His vision for Mysore includes water supply for all, repair of roads and taps, maintaining cleanliness, improvement of gardens and so on.

Mr.M.S.Ramesh is a JD (S) candidate from Ward No. 5 and has completed his PUC. He is not a resident of the ward and is a labourer. In his opinion, ADB loans can be repaid by constructing commercial complexes, renting them out and plugging the leakage in funds. He claims that even his honororium will be channelised for public welfare if he is elected.

For Mr.M.S.Kiran Kumar, a contestant from ward No. 5, ADB loans can be cleared by increasing taxes. Though he contested elections earlier as an independent, he was not elected. He, too, is not a resident of this ward. His solutions to problems? To seek public suggestions on how to solve them!

Similarly, Mr.N.Boregowda is an independent candidate. He refuses to disclose his source of income but was quick to point out that no criminal or corruption charges have been levelled against him. His three "achievements"? He "participated in a "rail roko" agitation when Mr.Rajkumar was kidnapped, distributed clothes to the poor and took part in a blood donation camp.

For Ms.Lalitha, BJP candidate from Ward No. 6, her priorities include providing streetlights, disposing of solid waste and "providing green grass to cowherds" among other civic amenities. The JD (S) candidate from the same ward is Ms.Sumana, who is a B.A, LL.B. Her solution to clear ADB loans is to tax the upper class and merchants.

It may be gratifying to note that the candidates are well aware of the problems plaguing Mysore city. But, they are at a loss to suggest solutions other than "seeking public opinion." Interestingly, all those interviewed perhaps sensed the mood of the people and reiterated that "there were no criminal cases or corruption charges against them."

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