What does an online magazine, dedicated to non partisan analysis of local and city-level issues central to urban areas, do when the whole country is obsessed with the conduct of general elections to decide the next government at the centre? Especially, in an election that is largely dominated by terms such as defence deals, nationalism, Hindutva, polarisation, Mahagathbandhan, Modi Sarkaar etc.
Well, it still looks at local and general urban issues but focuses the spotlight on prominent city constituencies and the issues in those. It looks at candidates vying for those seats, presents data and information on their political careers and past parliamentary track record if any, highlights their campaign promises, the manifesto agendas of the parties they belong to. It gathers all the resources that it can and tries to present the most important information for every voter, cutting out all that is merely sensational or subjective. All with the express objective of helping readers decide who looks to be the most promising candidate to represent their constituency in the next five years of the Lok Sabha.
For the past couple of months, the team at Citizen Matters has been doing that as meticulously as possible, in the hope that whatever the mandate among our readers in the cities that we covered, it is one that has been guided by objective analysis of the data and information that we were able to provide.
Now, that is done. As we pen this, the cacophony out there has reached its crescendo. There is shrill discussion everywhere of leads and wins and losses, of surprises and shocks.
Yet, at this precise juncture, we have decided to stay on the sidelines for just a bit, waiting and watching. Waiting for the dust to settle, and watching to see what the final people’s mandate in our cities looks like. For, of course, our real work gathers more steam as the noise dies down and life returns to normal. It is then that we need to sustain the focus, pick up each of the relevant points that formed the election discourse in these cities and see how they shape up under the new leaders that citizens have chosen.
An election and the results it throws up is not the end. Never the end. It is the beginning. So stay tuned and look out for the stories that will emerge now for they are the ones that will determine what the future is for us and our children. Stories that reflect real issues affecting us. Stories that look at how our elected representatives at various levels of government are addressing those issues. Most importantly, all that we, as citizens should know and do to help further the cause of making our cities better.
Satarupa Bhattacharya is Consulting Editor, Citizen Matters.