The process, which is the essence of every democracy, would have been wrapped up and done with, by the Republic of India, by the time this edition of the Pioneer reaches your hands. Of course, I refer to the General Elections, the time, perhaps the only time, for the population to have their say- the say which would decide the future of their nation and may be their own! Change is the only constant, they say, and elections are no exception to this. The vogue of elections has changed considerably post-independence. Gone are the days when the politicians would travel long distances by foot to promote themselves and their party; the latest in fashion are the helicopters. Not only do the aspirants have their own websites, but also their very own blogs and jingles. The IT teams of various political parties have indeed come out with flying colours in making their chap look like the man next door. The Arvind Kejriwal’s video, in which he advocates for his brainchild- the AAP, has been viral on WhatsApp. Not only this, but many have received not only texts but also voice messages from the candidates from their constituency, requesting them for a vote in their favour.
Over 70 million voters will cast their precious vote to choose their representative. More than one thousand political parties are taking part in this jumbo fair of democracy. To choose 543 members of the 16th Lok Sabha, it is estimated that the political parties will spend ten thousand crores of rupees. This amount includes the expenditure borne out of ticket buying, advertisements, campaigning (that includes the buying of liquor and giving out cash to the voters), booth capturing, party funds, buying weapons, travelling, and other accessories like flex boards, banners, flags, bags, pens, pins, posters, stickers, masks, photos etc., which practically, has no count. Ironically enough, the Election Commission grants only ₹70, 00000 for campaigning purposes to every candidate.
To be able to make people believe that they are the favourites of the voters of their constituencies, boosts up their chance of winning, is a common belief of the Indian politicians. And the best of all the means to do that, are- rallies and road shows. A large chunk of the funds is granted to the party workers to bring large number of people and vehicles, to prove to the voting class, the colossal support the “leader” enjoys. In Punjab various artists are called upon, to sing the famous peppy numbers or perform Bhangra. In the south the Tamil and Telegu film stars are called upon to gather the masses. The bollywood actors are all time favourites in the entire nation. We don’t need all this.
With time, the society has given rise to a thinking class and this thinking class doesn’t find any sense in bringing a celebrity to campaign for you. If a candidate needs some celebs to come in and ask their fans to prove their loyalty to them by voting for Mr. X, then does that person really deserve even to be named as an aspirant for the post of a MP? If one really is a politician, with a connect with the masses, then they don’t require these pens and badges and what not, with their party symbol and stuff like that printed on it, to remind people of their existence. The least we expect, from our may-be legislators, is some sensibility. Gathering huge paid or threatened crowd at rallies is no big thing and definitely doesn’t make you credible. The money you indulge in fulfilling all your fancies and following the trend of the classic Indian elections, could have been used in a lot more productive way. And neta ji, its only for once after five years that you are reminded of your constituency, so why waste such a lot unproductively at once, it’s better that you don’t even do that for us.(In some way doing nothing with the money is better that throwing it in the bin.)
Kudos to the Election Commission for the level of awareness it has created among the people about the importance of their vote. The most unfashionable thing you can do today is- not to vote, credits the ECI. Keeping all this in mind, it is sad to see even in cities like Mumbai, 50.7% voter turnout is all we reach, and that too is the maximum in 25 years. Remember, it is your own right you are despising. If you want to raise a finger at your government, you need to have it stained with that ink, or else you are not eligible even to criticise. And you know it is always better to vote for somebody than to vote against someone. The sad part is that we are still indifferent to whole of this process and unknown to the power our Constitution has prearranged for us. This concern for the nation is limited for party discussions and writing essays, but the fact remains, to quote Imelda Marcos. “Whoever wins or loses, we still go shopping after the elections.”