Written byRamya Patelkhana ·
Before casting their vote, voters must know and carefully analyze the candidates contesting polls.
Voters in Mumbai can visit the MumbaiVotes portal know their candidates, check MPs' performance, and know whether they have delivered on their promises to make an informed choice.
Vivek Gilani, an environmental engineer and a civil society activist, started MumbaiVotes in 2004.
It is a non-profit and a non-partisan organization that essentially provides information about incumbent lawmakers, candidates contesting elections, tracks election promises, etc. It conducts research and analysis on the basis of social science research methodologies.
"Our core philosophy revolves around enhancing the quality of our democratic participation," said Gilani.
One of MumbaiVotes' ways of collecting information about the candidates contesting in elections is direct contact with the candidates.
Its volunteers and full-time employees conduct short, five-minute interviews with the candidates.
During the interviews, candidates are asked three questions about their past track record in public service, their vision for their constituency, and their biggest mistake in public service.
Under the second part of MumbaiVotes' information collection process, candidates are asked to fill their profile and also a pledge, which states that once elected, they would disclose their key performance metrics transparently.
MumbaiVotes also analyzes candidates' personal manifesto and their party manifestos and then digitizes and translates the information into English.
The third part involves a rigorous study of all major parties' manifestos.
Later, a team of 5-6 analysts select specific content of election manifestos and compare them with 10 well-known electoral issues researched by Delhi-based UnManifesto. Researchers assess whether these manifestos have content with regard to these issues.
"Finally, we do a basic thumbs-up, thumbs-down rating on a particular electoral issue stated in a...manifesto... We reveal which party receives a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating," said Gilani.
MumbaiVotes then conducts a close analysis of criminal records of all candidates; analysts assess the pending court cases, their severity, and the IPC sections under which they are charged.
"We have a five red flag rating system, and candidates receive a particular red flag rating based on the Indian Penal Code sections they've been charged under," said Gilani.
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