Newsletter-cum-magazine of Oasis Movement YEAR 2 I ISSUE 34 I Apr 27, 2009
2009 Lok Sabha Election Special
 

Not Only VOTE, but give your vote with an INFORMED CHOICE

The next 5 years of our country will be decided in the next 15 days

The world's largest democracy is witnessing its 15th Loksabha elections. 714 million Citizens will vote to elect 543 candidates as their representatives to the Parliament of the country. Out of 5 Phases, 2 phases have ended and the third one is scheduled for 30th April.

We need to exercise our power of index with utmost responsibility, as it won't cost us personally much; but it may cost the nation dearly if we decide to stay indoors or do not make a well informed choice.

As time goes on, we are maturing as Citizens. Today we all

know that India needs Citizen-Leaders. We are aware that in the past we were not able to meaningfully engage with our elected representatives and therefore development needs have remained largely unaddressed even after 60 years of independence. Misuse of power, ineffective governance and corruption have come to characterise politics in India. To change this picture, let us first of all be informed.

Click here to see the power point presentation on Right to Vote.

First, Know Your Candidates

The information about the candidates standing for election in your constituency is just a click away, thanks to many initiatives of NGOs, Civil Societies, Media Houses and even Corporates.

Please click here to have reliable data and comparisons on the basis of affidavits submitted by the candidates.

For more detailed information, please visit http://www.nationalelectionwatch.org/

Know the Roles and Responsibilities of MP

As members of the Lok Sabha, MPs are responsible for passing bills (laws) for the country, monitoring the functioning of the executives, approving the budget and discussing issues of public importance.

The Parliament cannot give close consideration to all matters that come up before it. A good deal of its business is, therefore, transacted in Committees of the House, known as Parliamentary Committees. These Committees are permanent and regular committees. The Financial Committees, Departmentally Related Standing Committees and some other Committees come under the category of Parliamentary Standing Committees. MPs are supposed to participate in these committees.

Each MP is allocated Rs. 2 crores per year to carry out development works in their constituency.

To know our parliament & govement functions please click the following links- http://www.prsindia.org/know_parliament.htm
Or http://smartvote.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=4&id=14&Itemid=42

Checklist for Choosing Right MP

SACHCHE KO CHUNEY, ACHCHE KO CHUNEY... click here to see the video.

Based on the role that a Member of Parliament will play in government, here is a checklist which will enable you to choose the right Member of Parliament for your constituency.

Step 1: Decide what you are looking for in a candidate.

Apart from representing the concerns of their constituencies in parliament, MPs are meant to legislate on the key issues facing the nation, question and hold the government of the day to account and monitor the use of the public purse. 

We think that candidates must be assessed based on:

1. The positions they take on national issues.
2. Understanding the concerns of their constituency
3. Qualities of leadership and integrity
4. Experience they bring to office
5. Track record of Public Service

All factors are equally important. 

Step 2: Find the candidates for your constituency.

First find out which candidates are standing for election in your constituency. For Gujarat State, you may click on http://myneta.info/gujarat. You will find the details of all candidates with the reliable comparison of their affidavits. Newspapers are another source of information. 

Step 3: Sources of information about the candidates.

Put together information about the candidates from various sources which may include:- campaign literature, including campaign Web sites; voter information websites like www.adrindia.org; press reports in newspapers, television and radio; advertisements and candidates interviews/speeches.

Step 4: Evaluate candidates’ stands on national issues as well as constituency concerns: 

Passing and modifying legislation is central to the role of a MP. Look at their responses to the Key National issues found in the Candidate Interview/questionnaire in the information you have gathered. Are their responses clear and backed with an action plan or evasive and general?

If the candidate has been in parliament before look at the information provided on their attendance, the number of questions they asked, the debates they participated in, whether they made the special effort to initiate a private member bill on an issue they cared about and the committees they were a part of . This information is also available on the Lok Sabhas website http://loksabha.nic.in

Step 5: Learn about the candidates’ Leadership abilities and Experience of Office; Integrity and Track record of Public Service.

Leadership & Experience of Office – Leadership is about long term vision for the country and moving towards that goal with good administrative skills. Did the candidate strike you as someone with clarity of thought, ability to execute with the consistent support of the people ?

Integrity and Spirit of Public Service -- While Integrity is difficult to assess from the declared information in the candidate Biodata which includes the candidates criminal record; assets and liabilities may be useful in reaching a conclusion on whether you trust a candidate. Also useful is the reputation for integrity a candidate has developed and his/her willingness to be made accountable . Spirit of public service may be demonstrated through the voluntary/social activity undertaken by a candidate and the campaigns and agitations they have chosen to be a part of. 
Step 6: Learn how other people view the candidate. 

Now that you have accumulated information on candidates from various sources, you will want to learn what other, more informed, people think about the candidates. Their opinions can help to clarify your own views, but do not discount your own informed judgments. You may be the most careful observer of all!
  1. Seek the opinions of others in your community who keep track of political campaigns, find out which candidate they support and why.
  2. Opinion polls taken to evaluate public support for the different candidates reveal who is leading at a certain point in the race.

Step 7: Sorting it all out.

Review the information and compare all the candidates. Ask yourself these final questions.

  1. Which candidate demonstrated the most knowledge on the issues?
  2. Which candidates' view on the issues do you agree with the most?
  3. Who ran the fairest campaign and seems to demonstrate integrity?
  4. Which candidate has the leadership qualities you are looking for? (Consider administrative skill, vision and ability to implement).
Is the choice clear? If so, pick your candidate.
Good Initiatives

The urban educated class in India is showing renewed interest in the political process this time. While there are some groups that have chosen to take a plunge into the political arena head on by contesting elections, several others are choosing to engage with the electoral process in different ways. In this election season, it is not just the political parties who are preparing to reach out to the masses. A host of other professionals are getting involved in their own ways to be part of the process. Some observers are calling this India's first digital elections.

There are many concrete initiatives carried out by various groups and individuals. Civil Society Organisations, Media Houses and even Corporates came forward for the cause of Voters Awareness and bringing democracy in its real sense. We are proud of them. Following are some examples:

AGNI Mumbai, Democracy Connect, Election Affairs, Engage - Elections 2009, Freedom Team of India, Group of Groups Mumbai, India Elections, Indian Elections, India Democracy, India Voting, Jaago Re! One Billion Votes, Mumbai Votes, MyMP - IRIS (Beta)
National Election Watch -ADR, No Criminals, Our MP - Indian MPs, Politicking, PRAJA, PRS Legislative Research, Satark Nagrik Sangathan, Smart Vote India, VoteIndia, VoteIndia-Lok Satta, Vote Report, Wada Na Todo

The Heaven of Freedom

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary
desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and
action—
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)

Kindly note that this is a special issue of ALIVE, which in regular course is to be posted on 1st May, but keeping elections in view, is being posted on 27th April, 2009. The next issue will be on 15th May as usual.

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