It is quite common for candidates from mainstream political parties to visit residential societies to woo voters ahead of elections. But what do residents think of that?
Pooja Shrivastava, a resident of Ajnara Gen X in Crossings Republik in Ghaziabad, said inviting politicians over to one's society does not sit well with all residents. "If someone doesn't subscribe to the ideologies of a party, he/she will not like its political leaders to discuss their agenda in the society," said Shrivastava. "Moreover, many residents will be against conducting such meetings in the common areas of a society. Such meetings are not possible without the AOA's involvement, which is in charge of the common area facilities such as the clubhouse, the amphitheatres and the parks."
There are residents, however, who think otherwise.
Sanjay Jha, secretary of the Gaur Global Village AOA in Crossings Republik, maintained that inviting a candidate to one's society did not necessarily imply that the society's AOA supported the political party. "Inviting or letting politicians interact with residents is a way of familiarising people with a candidate and his or her party's agenda," said Jha. "This allows residents to make an educated choice when choosing their representative. The effort is impartial and representatives of all parties should be encouraged to present their agenda."
Some residents reasoned that if the district administration could bar AOA elections citing political complications, politicians should also not be allowed to push their agenda in societies. Residents also said AOA members engaged in inviting political parties to their society were deviating from their roles, as prescribed by the UP Apartment Act, 2010. According to this, an AOA is a maintenance body entirely dedicated to the welfare of the society. Residents also alleged that AOA members took undue advantage of their positions and facilitated such meetings to further their self-interests and rub shoulders with politicians.
Speaking to City Spidey, Alok Kumar, founder member of FedAOA, an apex body of residential societies in Ghaziabad, said that an AOA was a non-political body and should always keep politics at arm's length. "It is not advisable for AOAs or their members to get involved in politics, else they will surely deviate from their purpose," said Kumar.