India Inc Urges Staff to Perform their Civic Duty, Vote in Local Polls
Top brass at 100 cos join awareness campaigns led by state poll agency
Mumbai: Grassroots democracy has found an unlikely mascot in Corporate India: Companies in Mumbai have urged their staff to vote in elections that will decide how roads, power, or sewer lines are maintained in India’s commercial capital and its burgeoning suburbs over the next five years.
Top executives at about 100 companies are lending a helping hand to the polling agency to get people to vote in local elections, for which more than 20 million residents of Mumbai, Thane, and other locations in Maharashtra are eligible to vote to create 10 local councils. The centerpiece in this round of voting is the local council for Mumbai, the country’s largest.
“If we aspire for good governance, we must make the effort to cast our vote,’’ says Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Group that makes automotive tyres and transmission towers. “This is when voters have the power to bring the honest and right candidates to power.’’ In a personal message, Goenka has urged his employees to vote.
Companies have stepped in to remind residents about their civic duty after the voting percentage plunged to the lowest in the last elections to the local bodies: Only 40% of eligible voters had gone to polling stations when cities last elected their local councils.
Goenka is joined by companies that define Mumbai’s corporate identity: India’s largest tractor maker M&M, the second-largest private lender ICICI Bank, Paytm, HDFC, Godrej, Vodafone, PwC, Deutsche Bank, Stanchart, and MCX are
CHOOSE WELL This is when voters have the power to bring the honest and right candidates to power HARSHGOENKA Chairman, RPG Group
among companies that have urged residents to vote. Companies believe it is important for citizens to vote to ensure better facilities from the municipal corporation instead of just spending the day as a holiday.
“It is a fundamental right: Everyone should exercise to select the right professionals for the job,’’ said Sunil Sood, chief executive, Vodafone, India’s second-largest mobile telephony company. “Instead of cribbing in the corridors, get the right people to bring about the change.”