Campaigning for the BPP elections is aggressively under way and by all accounts attendance is thin and lackluster at various candidates’ meetings.
Contrast this to the days (many would wistfully call them the good old days!) when food packets were dished out and upwards of 500 Parsis would enthusiastically attend.
Fuelled by the prospect of delectable bhonu at the end of it all, attendees would ask probing questions and put the candidates on the mat – getting fiery exchanges underway.
Contrast this with the current cooling off amongst the electorate. Perhaps, it’s the no-food policy or maybe it’s because the community is disenchanted with Parsi politics, but generally around 50-80 people turn up for elections meetings and few hard-hitting questions get asked.
It seems most Parsis are content to let contentious issues slide by, without putting prospective Trustees through the diligent scrutiny that is required before handing the BPP over to them.
Several worthy candidates are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the assertive PR skills some candidates have at their command and, thus, cannot drum up enough shoo-sha in their favour.
It’s crucial that the electorate makes an informed and careful choice. Many candidates are not revealing their full agenda and not enough attention is being paid to their track record and hidden intentions.
Voters are being fooled, in some instances, into believing glib projections of candidates, which are far removed from reality.
The onus lies with each one to attend election meetings and objectively assess candidates by asking relevant questions. Only if fully satisfied, should voters give their stamp of approval to a candidate.
We must mention here the thoughtful online advertising campaign (see it on the ‘Jam-e-Jamshed’ Facebook Page) that Sam Balsara has created for ‘Parsis For Harmony’ -- a small Think Tank of well intentioned community members.
The series of advertisements offers an important checklist to follow while voting:
1. Is the integrity of the candidate absolutely impeccable?
2. Is the competence and track record of the candidate outstanding?
3. Will the candidate selflessly devote more than adequate time?
4. Will the Trustees of the Punchayet work together like a well-oiled machine?
Ask these questions and then, only then, vote with care.