Mysore Mayor’s padayatra

We have an energetic young man for mayor in Mysore. And he takes his job seriously.  Mayor Sandesh Swamy starts work at 6 a m –  doing padayatra of municipal wards.  He intends doing two wards a day, working four mornings a week.  When he is through with all 65 municipal wards, Mr Swamy would start all over again,  revisiting the wards  ‘to ensure the instructions given by me during earlier visits is carried out by the authorities concerned’.  On a visit to Nazarbad municipal ward yesterday  Mr Swamy expressed annoyence at the sight of a garbage pile-up near the zoo’s tonga stand. He pulled up a traffic cop for allowing  haphazard parking of tourist vehicles;  he ticked off accompanying officials for failure to curb the cattle menace caused by milk vendors in the locality.  The mayor ordered cleaning of a  clogged drain near Doddakere Maidan.

Mayor’s padayatra for Clean City‘,   said the lead story in the evening paper. Such morning rounds help Mr Swamy keep himself physically fit, and  politically visible.  I doubt if it can  accomplish much else.   Anyway,  is this the sort of thing a mayor should really be doing ?  Quite a few of our elected representatives have  a penchant for  ‘inspection’. They want to make  surprise visits to a hospital or corporation office, carry out a lightning check at  fair price shops or municipal market

What is conveniently overlooked is that a corporator or mayor  lacks executive authority.  A mayor’s  indirect election and his/her  short one-year tenure in office makes him no more than a figurehead. To put it in perspective,  all executive powers are vested in the  Municipal Commissioner, usually an IAS or provincial administrative  service officer appointed by the government.  And yet, we read  media report of mayor ‘pulling up’ someone here, ‘taking to task’ someone else there,  and threatening disciplinary action against yet another official elsewhere.

Mayor,  local MLAs and other elected representatives in a local government setting can  play a meaningful role, within their administrative limitations,  and still can  stay visible publicly.  It is not anyone’s case that our mayor should not go on padayatra,  if he does it without official banda.  People contact programme  helps politicians to feel the public pulse and  stay in touch with their constitutency. Modern communication technology enables Mayor Swamy to add value to his padayatra programme. I don’t know if he is  on Twitter ? He can create a web page through which he can interact with people. Mr Swamy can write a column  in local media, offer to appear on Q & A show for a city TV channel.

I would suggest one more thing. As mayor of this  garden city Mr Sandesh Swamy can push the ‘green’ agenda.  He could   plant a sapling at every ward to mark his visit  and encourage his supporters in every locality to do so to celebrate his visit.

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