Voting the Sex Workers
2010 was the year of election and the fever was palpable. DMSC conducted election for its branch and central committees with tenure of 2 years which started since 1997. This was 7th election of DMSC which was held in 48 branches. During this time sex workers voted enthusiastically to elect 4 office bears in each of these 48 branch committees. The election was declared in November 2009 and by march 2010 it was concluded with the formation of the central committee. Following 2 months campaign, the voting started on 13th of January 2010 and the last branch committee elected their representatives on 11th of February.
There were fierce contest among the aspirant candidates in those branches. There were even cases of tie when we had to go for toss to select the final one. There was allegation of rigging and call of vote boycott. In each cases the independent election commission probed into all their complains/call and took immediate steps to resume peace and harmony. In few areas there were minor tussle among the supporters of candidates after the deceleration of result. However quick intervention from the administration of DMSC resolved those issues amicably.
In Basirhat and in Kalna some of the sex workers called for vote boycott. The issues for calling vote boycott were not directly related to organization, rather with the HIV intervention project. We could overcome it in Basirhat and in Kalna the disputes are yet to be settled. In Ghoradanga after the completion of the election it was turned out that one elected candidate stood in the election suppressing facts that goes against her candidature. Verifying all these facts the election commission declared the election of that branch committees as null and void and a fresh mandate was taken preceded with adequate preparation for the voting. After completion of the election of the Branch committees, the 2nd phase of election starts where the elected representatives from branch committees, elect their central committee office bearers. Any one of the 4 office bears from each branch committees are eligible to contest as well as to vote to elect 12 central committee members. The central committees finally took over office on 1st of May 2010.