More than ever before Indians / Asians demand representation in local government

From a bird eye view, Council elections do look like a festival where many of us have joined in – some with seriousness and perhaps some with real seriousness to partake in this benign exercise of our rights in democracy. Why is it that we see so many of our own have put their hand up this time. It needs some introspection.

Back in my university days, to win university students elections, we coined or made up  a quote by John F. Kennedy and used it to our fullest advantage and won by a landslide. The coined quote (of John F. Kennedy) was:

“Elections in India are not elections but only a ‘teohaar’  (festival) and people come to celebrate it”.

And we told all our potential voters what George Bernard Shaw said of democracy – “putting the right men in the right place”.

With that – we enthused our potential voters telling them how powerful they were (having the vote) and beseeched them exercise intelligently – of course in our favour, making them feel more important than anything else for us at the time.

Seeing a plethora of Indian/Asia candidates putting their hand up last few elections and then this council election more than 130 candidate, more than 40 in just one council – Wyndham – my first impression was that of a ‘teohaar’ where so many had just put their hand up – to partake in the celebrations.

But looking closely, by god, almost all of our candidates, (barring a few strategic ones)   mean business. Their passion and commitment to serve, to identify the issues for their respective councils and communities – is just amazing.

To give our community a chance to know their budding, aspiring leaders a bit more closely, we prepared a questionnaire of 8 questions – 3 as council candidate, 2 as Victorian community member, 2 as Victorian of Indian/Asian descent and 1 as a community leader and sent it to the candidates for their responses.

For word count limit reasons, we have chosen to shortlist 20 of them (presented herein below) who you may consider voting for in your respective electorates. Some of the answers they have given are simply cute in addition to being honest from the core. This is the best time for our community to know them as they are.

Many of us miss our country of birth for different reasons and it is really endearing to read what they say they miss about India or country of their birth while they, working hard in Australia to excel in their lives, do their bit for their local communities and society as a whole.

When you know them, you could be forgiven to question their intention, timing or understanding of what they are going in for.

Also read: Indian candidates dominate Council Elections 2020

Yes, some of them are politically aligned openly and some are visibly ‘used’ by political hacks enslaving them into intoxication of being part of their machinery (not know how they are being used, they revel in it and relish it while they enjoy their political slumber).

And then there are some – those ‘have beens‘, who started with a big bang, then realized the road blocks and quit citing extraneous reasons.

That should not discourage anyone. Every individual is a unique talent and no one but they themselves know their strengths and limitations. Smarter are those who can obscure their shortcomings while they work on them and manage to utilize their strengths to forge ahead. This time around there are some really talented people in the arena and if some mainstream observers (of a particular mindset) want to question them, they should think twice.

Here is our shortlist of candidates in 2020 Council elections you may consider voting for.

Aijaz Moinuddin for Wyndham Amit Patel for Monash
Anne Makhijani for Whitehorse Ashok Sherwal for Wyndham
Firas Hasan for Wyndham Geraldine Gonsalvez for Dandenong
Mandeep Singh Premi for Cardinia Mazharul Chowdhury for Monash
Nalliah Suriyakumaran for Darebin Naureen Choudhry for Monash
Praveen Kumar for Moreland Rajdeep Kang for Maribyrnong
Rezanuzzaman Chowdhury for Kingston Sahana Ramesh for Wyndham
Sandeep Sarathy for Yarra Shanaka Perera for Moreland
Suren Surender for Kingston Thurairajah Shanmugapala for Manningham
Vasalia Govender for Mitchell Vivek Sharma for Melton

As Naureen Choudhry (form Monash) says, ‘Ït’s our time’, it is high time people of all beliefs and vocations start to take Indians/Asians seriously. The eagerness and urgency of them partaking in the decision making – which directly affects us all – is now palpable. As we see so many colored faces in the parliaments of UK, US and Canada, it feels the commencement has been made and it will sooner or later lead to fruition.