Supporters of Independent candidates derail public debate

Supporters of Independent candidates derail public debate

The efforts of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) to organise a public debate, by inviting candidates of the main political parties from Chamaraja Assembly constituency, had to be cancelled due to the apathy of the government officials concerned and also bullying by followers of a few Independent candidates.

It was supposed to provide a platform to the candidates to interact with the voters, a first of its kind initiative in association with the Mysuru District Journalists’ Association (MDJA). Now, MGP has decided to make use of the social network to reach the questions of the voters to the candidates and elicit their reaction.

According to Bhamy Shenoy, convenor of MGP, “Before launching the initiative, MGP had discussed the concept of the public debate with then DC K B Sivakumar. Earlier, we had got a message from Election Commissioner Sanjiv Kumar that there are no bars to hold such debates. The DC was appreciative of our efforts and felt such debates would help attract literate voters to exercise their franchise. But, he asked us to comply with the model code of conduct (MCC).”

“On April 26, MGP secured all permission from the returning officer of Chamaraja constituency, after making several trips to different offices. The Police Commissioner had agreed to give us security for the debate. But, MGP got a call on April 26 evening from the DC’s office that such public debates are banned. Besides, MGP members received threatening calls from the followers of some Independent candidates that if their leaders are not invited, they would disturb the meeting. Since it would be difficult to have a meaningful debate, if Independent candidates (there are many Independent candidates and most of them are not serious contestants) are included, a decision had been taken to invite nominees of only recognised political parties. Since the MGP wanted to avoid any law and order problem, it dropped the idea of the debate,” said K S Venkatesh, secretary of MGP.

“A public debate would have educated the voters on the vision of the candidates in an effective way. In developed countries, elections take place only after such debates. The MGP has shortlisted eight problems from the questions received from the voters to be communicated to the candidates. We would like to know how the candidates plan to address the problems faced by the people. They can send their response by May 4 to MGP volunteers will share it with netizens through the various social network and also with the mass media to inform the voters on their vision for Mysuru,” he said.