Councillors represent different political parties only before they are elected, and should not carry on their politics while representing their wards in the house, experts said during the two-day orientation programme of the councillors. With a majority of its new councillors in the house, the BJP had arranged a training session for all the councillors so that they may know about the Municipal Corporation Act, its composition, and how to take up issues of its ward through ‘Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini’ (RMP). RMP is a training and research institute.
UT deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi also took a session of the councillors where he said, “Public participation is not tough… but very tough.” Joshi showed the councillors a documentary on the international yoga event held last year in Chandigarh through which the DC conveyed that it was an event where everybody from political leaders to the bureaucracy and the general public was involved. The DC said that through public participation, a revolution can be brought, and it is highly important for the councillors to seek public participation.
After the inauguration by UT Administrator V. P. Singh Badnore, the first session was taken by Municipal Corporation commissioner Baldeo Purushartha, who taught councillors about ‘democracy’. Purushartha in his session focused on “By the people, Of the people, For the People.” He told the councillors that before taking any decision, public interest should be gauged. “Public interest too is very complex because the opinion of the public is divided. It is always subject to change,” Purushartha said. The Commissioner asked the councillors to be sensitive towards people’s ideas. During the orientation on Tuesday, the councillors were told about their responsibilites and duties. Prashant Pisolkar, a retired municipal officer from MC of Greater Mumbai told the councillors that they need to be with the people after being elected also.
“When we are contesting the elections, we remain with the people and listen to them. After we are elected, we have to remain the same way with the people of our wards and listen to their grievances,” Pisolkar said. The former MC officer said that a councillor was the first person whom people contacted even if the problem did not belong to their ward. “A councillor is actually a nagar sevak,” he said. About taking up issues in the house, Pisolkar added, “We do contest elections from various political parties. But when we are in the house, we should represent all voters of our ward, and not think that this voter supported somebody else.