'Baby' gets highest votes in Indian school board elections
January 13, 2018 | 10:16 PM
by Times News Service
Incumbent Dr Baby Sam Samuel Kutty polled 613 votes and finished at the top. Mohammad Sabir Faizi finished second with 459 votes.

Muscat: Parents elected five members to the board that governs Indian schools in Oman on Saturday.

Incumbent Dr Baby Sam Samuel Kutty polled 613 votes and finished at the top. Mohammad Sabir Faizi finished second with 459 votes.

Sirajudeen Nhelat bagged 419 votes, thus becoming the third highest vote getter.

As many as 411 votes were gathered by Selvichan Jacob earning him the fourth spot. Nitheesh Sundaresan became the fifth and final member of the board by polling 344 votes.

Baby Sam Samuel Kutty, who finished top said that he was delighted at the results, adding that he looked forward to starting his second two-year term in April, this year.

“The result reflects the appreciation and acknowledgement of the work that the previous board had done. Parents have responded positively and I am pleased with the result. I look forward to working with my new elected colleagues when the new term begins,” Samuel said.

87 invalid votes cast

As many as 3,794 people exercised their franchise. However, not everyone followed the rules correctly, due to which 87 votes were deemed invalid.

Official sources said that many voters had made mistakes in casting their paper ballot, despite clear instructions by the election commission.

The rules dictated that voters put a tick mark in the box right next to their preferred candidate’s name. However, some voters went out of their way to put cross marks in the boxes right next to the other 17 candidates. Others signed in the box instead of putting a tick mark. Such mistakes made their votes invalid, official sources added.

Parents had come out to vote in big numbers to elect five members of the board of Indian Schools in Oman at Indian School Muscat (ISM) on Saturday.

Voting began at 8 am and finished at 5 pm at the new multipurpose hall on ISM premises.

Paper ballots were used for voting. Each set of parents were allowed only one vote. Moreover, only the parent casting the ballot was allowed inside the school premises. Voters had brought their resident card along, as no other identification was deemed acceptable.

As many as 18 candidates contested. The elections were conducted on a first past the post basis, meaning five candidates with the highest number of votes were elected to the board.

The board has 15 members. Five members of the board are elected while 10 others are not. The unelected members comprise presidents and representatives of Indian schools based in Muscat and two members nominated by the Indian embassy, including one embassy staff.

Only an elected member can become the chairman of the board and the selection is done by the board members.

The Kerala native, whose son studies in the eighth standard at the ISM, added that this democratic exercise had yielded

good results.

“Lots of positive changes have come about because of the decision to elect five board members. Now, we have a human resource (HR) manual for recruitment and promotions. Earlier, the Indian schools were not so organised,” he noted. Chandan Sinha, a finance supervisor whose daughter studies in kindergarten, expressed his satisfaction at having voted.“It’s good to have your voice inside the board. You feel like there is someone to look after your interests.”

The polls are being overseen by a five-member election commission comprising election commissioner Satish Nambiar, and members Babu Rajendran, Dilip Somani, Shakeel Mohiuddin Kutty, and Padmini Atal.

Member of the commission Babu Rajendran stated he was happy with the turnout.“There has been brisk voting since 8 am.

It’s a festive mood here,” he noted. Security and parking issues had been dealt with efficiently, Rajendran observed.

“We have six Royal Oman Police (ROP) personnel stationed near the school. We also have our own security staff and other staff aiding in this effort.”

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