Uttarakhand is going through an interesting election phase as municipal election process is in progress.  Five municipalities are about to elect a new mayor. As the state gears up for new leadership, political parties are fighting it out to win these coveted seats.

The seat of the Mayor holds tremendous significance to cities that are governed as municipalities.  For political parties, winning this post is about prestige, power and show of strength. However, for the people voting in this election, it is about how their city will shape up in the next few years.

Every election, I do wonder – Does the voter understand the consequences of their choices?  Are voters thinking about what parameters to consider when they pick their favorite candidate?  Here is a piece on how to choose your mayor this election season.

  1. Vision

The first and foremost criterion for choosing the right candidate for this post must be the vision of the candidate.  Does the candidate understand the responsibilities that come with the post? Does the candidate have a vision to run and organize the municipality?  Is his or her vision holistic and considering crucial aspects such as good governance, basic amenities for each and every citizen of the city, a balance between ecology of the municipality and growth and development of the city, commitment towards youth and women, no gender bias, and a master plan for executing his or her vision.  

  1. Qualification of the Candidate

Does the candidate have a degree? Did the candidate go to college? Which college did the candidate go to? Is the candidate educated?  Is the candidate a professional?

  1. Experience of the Candidate

What has the candidate done prior to his candidature for this post? Is the candidate a professional politician?  Is the candidate a committed sincere candidate? Is the candidate genuine? Is the candidate self-motivated or has he demonstrated any previous commitment to public welfare and governance?

  1. Professional Politician vs. Non-politician Candidate

What is the motive of the candidate?  Is it solely to further his or her political career or is to serve the people and contribute to good governance or nation building?  Is the candidate from a political party? Are there candidates who are not from political parties? Are the candidates who are not professional politicians better suited for this role?

  1. Age and Gender of the Candidate

While age and gender are not a barrier for merit and vision, and the potential of a candidate, they certainly are indicators on whether the candidate will be able to perform as per one’s expectations.  These are factors that determine the exposure and risk taking ability of a candidate.

  1. Exposure of the Candidate

It is very important to choose a candidate who has exposure to diversity.  A well- travelled candidate will be able to compare the merits and demerits of the policies in his or her municipality with that of other municipalities.  A well travelled candidate will have more examples from the world around him or her. Lesser the exposure, lesser will be the candidate’s ability to think beyond the box.

Ultimately, when you choose a candidate, remember, you are choosing your future, and that of your children and that of generations to come.  Choose wisely.

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