Bangalore: For the last two months, Bangalorean Vani Murthy's house has been transformed into what she calls the Bruhath Bengaluru City Corporation (BBMP) office, complete with electoral lists and registers.
The housewife’s mission is a complicated one: she has decided to set right the erroneous electoral rolls of her locality, Malleshwaram. But she's not alone. Meenakshi Bharath, a doctor in the same neighbourhood, is juggling time between her patients and helping Vani.
"We took almost two months going went door to door because it was messy. A lot of names were confusing. They were all in different sections. Then we put everything in an excel sheet in sections where they belong. So it took us a long time to do that,” says Vani.
And if anything, it's the challenges that drove the duo on. "Citizen involvement is very important. Who else will tell you the name is wrong, unless it is yourself. You know how you spell your name, you know which house you live in,” says Meenakshi.
Meenakshi and Vani are part of a larger initiative made up of a number of citizens groups across the city.
Called Vote Bangalore, their aim is not only to make electoral rolls accurate but also shift the focus of elections from vote banks to issues that concern the people.
And it does not stop there. They plan to make their elected representatives accountable
Executive trustee, CIVIC, Kathyayini Chamaraj says, "Now we have initiated this process where we say we are not interested in your manifesto. We will tell you what we want in our areas and you tell us whether you are going to abide by that or not. We want our needs to be reflected in what you do and not something that you develop on your own. We want him (the politician) to come back every three months and tell us how much of what we asked is being done. We want to hold him accountable to us periodically."
With this unique initiative, citizens of Bangalore seem to be showing the way forward in a democracy.