Suddenly, busy people who never had the time to even participate in the running of their own building cooperative society are eager to run the government. Everybody wants to be a Citizen’s Candidate for the 2012 municipal elections in Mumbai, and they all have one thing in mind: eradicating corruption.
And so they are forming parties.
My friends Anand and Babita were having this conversation some days back, while I was literally a fly on the wall. A lot of people are having these conversations nowadays, and that’s why this is so significant.
• Anand: Things can’t go on like this. We must reform our nation, which is corrupt and badly governed.
o Babita: Yes I totally agree. I feel horrible when I read the newspapers. India is such a badly managed country! So much garbage and pollution! Not like America and Singapore and all…
• Anand: Almost every leader is corrupt to the core. Good governance cannot happen as long as the present lot is around.
o Babita: Absolutely!
• Anand: All these leaders should be voted out of office, and replaced by a better lot.
o Babita: Yes, but who to vote for? All the politicians in Congress, BJP, Samajwadi Party etc. are also corrupt goons.
• Anand: Exactly! But you and I are not corrupt. They should have people like us.
o Babita: Yes. Even if I someone offered me hundreds of crores for selling 2G bandwidth, I would refuse. You know me… I am not a not dirty person like Raja and Kalmadi and Yedyurappa and…
• Anand: That is why you and I must become part of the establishment. Without fighting elections, we cannot make a difference.
o Babita: True. Nobody listens to the common man in India.
• Anand: Right. So let us contest the municipal elections in 2012, become corporators and clean up the city.
o Babita: But who will vote for us? Only a handful of people know me even in my own cooperative housing society! I don’t want to be in my society’s managing committee, because you know, they are such unreasonable and corrupt people… and where is the time for me to get into stuff like collecting maintenance, paying property taxes and dealing with tank cleaning contractors? I don’t like getting into jhamelas! But if somebody else does the groundwork, then I will participate and give my ideas.
• Anand: Don’t worry, just stay focused on the main thing. Let us – you and I – form a citizens’ political party, and become their candidates. Our citizens’ political party will select us, naturally. So we are Citizen’s Candidates. Other citizens will vote for us because we are decent people like them… because we are not dirty politicians.
o Babita: Ok. But I hope I won’t have to go and campaign for myself. I hate to go to neighbourhood buildings, and all those slums, and meet the smelly people who live there in those damp little houses, and request them to vote for me. We will need their votes, but I don’t want to talk to them. Chh-eeee! Yuckkkk!
• Anand: We shouldn’t go around asking for votes. How will it look if I go and ask people to vote for me? No way I want to do that! So let us make a party of good people like you and me, and they will go and campaign for us and distribute pamphlets and everything. We screen out the bad people who are not like us, and who may cause trouble later. Only 227 out of the thousands of good people in our party will stand for 2012 elections; the remaining will selflessly support the 227 candidates, and in return, we will support them when they stand for parliamentary elections of 2014.
o Babita: You mean that in 2014, we will have to go walking in the slums and asking for votes? Yuck! The only slum people whom I can tolerate are my kaam-wali-bai, my driver, the doodh-wala and the watchman. But I hope you will never let my kaam-wali join our party.
• Anand: No no, don’t worry. I’ll ask you before admitting anybody to our party. No smelly people with dirty shirts and hawaii slippers will join our party. Only good people who have good tuning with you and me. And we will tell everybody to approach five good people and request for donations.
o Babita: Yeah! Suppose even one thousand people donate ten thousand rupees each, that means a campaign fund of Rs 10 lakh for my election campaign!
• Anand: So you will also donate Rs 10,000 for my campaign fund, right?
o Babita: Of course! But wait till everybody else donates. If you still have a shortage, I will make my donation. But I will have to ask my husband first, and see what he says.
• Anand: Next Sunday, I have called a meeting of some good people at my house. You must come.
o Mr. B: Why Sunday? Sunday is the only day I get to spend time with my family.
• Anand: Arre yaar, even my wife said the same thing. But nobody will come to our meetings on weekdays. Everybody is busy with their naukri-dhandha. Only on Sunday’s they will find some time.
o Babita: Ok, fine, I’ll come.
• Anand: We will have to work hard for the next few months, till the elections. You must come for meetings every Sunday. Promise me!
o Babita: Yeah, fine. But only until the elections are over, Ok? I have my own life, yaar! I don’t want to be doing netagiri all my life! And another thing, I don’t want all mannerless party workers in my sitting room, walking all over my carpets with their chappals and ruining my sofas. So don’t call any meetings at my place, ok?
• Anand: Ok, stop worrying. After the elections, everything will return to normal. Trust me.
o Babita: And corruption will be gone?
• Anand: Yeah, so after we become corporators, we will make the roads and footpaths nice and clean. And we will tell all hawkers to be gone. No haftas, no nothing.
o Babita: First thing I do is tell the municipality-wallahs to demolish all those slums and remove all encroachments. And then I will tell the Prime Minister and Chief Minister that I won’t tolerate corruption in my area. And I will tell all the police inspectors and havaldars to do their job and put the corrupt people behind bars. I won’t tolerate any hank-panky. If any BJP or Sena corporator gets fresh with me, I’ll give him a piece of my mind, just you see!
With so many citizens’ candidates and good people’s parties jumping into the fray, the days of corrupt politicians are numbered. Anand and Babita and their Good People’s Party will do a better job of governance than Manmohan and Sonia and who-have-you.
Watch out, India! Watch out, Mumbai! Anand and Babita are here, and they are unstoppable!