Saturday, April 04, 2009

Politics Shmolitics

'L K Advani for PM' all over the internet. Congress and their 'Jai Ho' mantra all over the media. Talks of a 'Fourth front'. Pawar pulling out of a rally at the eleventh hour. Everyone going all out to grab the vote bank's attention, and hope that converts into votes.

You know, all this talk about youngsters going and voting, it makes sense at a certain level. Voting is a fundamental right, and that unless you contribute to the process, things really would not change. I checked out too, lots of college mates are totally into the mode of voting for the right candidate, being a part of the process etc etc.

I agree, voting is vital. But then again, we don't really have a lot of choices. Sounds odd, given the number of parties plus independent candidates we have in the country. But then again, voting for these independent candidates won't really give you a government you want in the Parliament.

There's the NDA, with their 'we'll do anything to get the Hindu votes' agenda. Then there is the UPA, who are all about 'we'll do anything to get minority votes' plus their India Shining part 2 (better known 'Jai Ho') campaign. Then there is this something called the 'Third front', most of which is the Left parties, who believe in 'we'll never let anyone grow, all of us will be equally backward.'
Latest I've heard is about a 'Fourth Front', consisting of regional parties going big, like RJD, LJP etc.

I might sound cynical, but really, do we have a choice? What matters when you decide who runs the country, is numbers in the Lok Sabha. You might vote for a guy who you trust will work, he might win the seat too. But ultimately, the party he belongs to needs to win. And most, if not all, of the MPs from this party/alliance need to be progressive, and actually get some work done around here.

Every citizen has ONE vote. If say I like the Prime Ministerial candidate of party X, but I think that the candidate from party Y would make a better MP than the guy from X, how do I decide? X needs numbers to reign, the region needs the guy from party Y. What had happened five years back, was that no one party/major alliance got the people's nod. And so the UPA was formed, which (lo and behold!) had the Left front and the Congress working together. Last minute manipulations, buying, compromises and hiding of MPs was what it took to make the government.

Yes, the turnout makes a resounding statement in states like J&K, where the courage of the people shows in the voting turnout. Yes, it makes everyone sit up and notice that the citizens of India are aware of their rights, and demand progress. But it really doesn't go beyond the symbolism, does it?

General Elections are here. Soon enough we'll be sitting in front of the television, listening to experts rattle on about how a particular region is the vote bank of a particular person/party, and forget in the calculations that we are the people who make up some or the other vote bank.

Unless and until EVERYONE in the country gets over the fundamental divides (minority issues, caste issues) we will have to stick with leaders who will continue manipulating us, using these weaknesses to get to the coveted kursi. And that is something nearly impossible, kinda like a vicious circle.

Well, I hereby end this rather loosely-written post on The Great Indian Dance of Democracy (I think a channel's used this line, not sure.) Hope it made some sense.


Pushkar said...

interestingly, read this article by Vir Sanghvi, which said that the reason the Middle class in India does not vote, is because deep down it is aware that its vote will not count, they are so few in number, and so concentrated in certain constituencies. That is the reason they choose to be aloof of elections. Kind of like avoiding a case of better 'to have loved and been hurt, rather than not being loved at all'

chaitu said...

all see the BBC documentary: 'why democracy - plz vote for me'

interesting observations in post

i'd like to add some: democracy has its flaws as like any other system of governance. as of what gets into my lil head, democracy=free expression+elected rep+ indep judiciary. but interestingly all these deal with ppl! ppl's majority choice run their country.

n solve the X n Y paradox someone.

nimit said...

umm here is what I feel. Why do the candidates take out manifestos targeting extremely poor or dividing people based on the basis of religion.
Well because development never worked in India to win an election. ( you may say modi in gujarat but maut ke saudagar comment was also there)
Now why does development never work? Because people like you and me who see it and understand it never vote.
There is a thing about democracy, it always gives the governement the people who make it deserve.
So whenever I think about vting i remember 26/11 and the days that followed and the anger I had and then the decision becomes clearer to me.
About MP vs PM. Nobody absolutely nobody knows who will be PM as there would mostly be a hung parliament, so vote for the MP. Chose the guy who will do local dev. The gandhian principle local governance.
1 Vote maynot change anything. It may not even count. even together a lakhs of votes may do nothing significant this election. But if people like us vote then atleast it will send out a message that here is a nascent market ( I use this term intentionally) for votes which doesnot divide on communal lines or want free subsidies but wants development and security.
There is famous line from a Hindi movie - pass ke nuksan ko dekhte hue door ka fayda nahin bhoolna chahiye.

So vote thinking your 1 vote will make all the difference and then let the politicians tear each other apart.

Atleast by the next 26/11 it wont hover on your conscience that you could have done something.

me, as i am said...

Manifestos of major parties (courtesy Nimit):




AlterEgoOfRashanality said...

Interesting shift of focus :) nice post...just one thing "fundamental divides (minority issues, caste issues)" These arnt just dividing issues. These problems are real and exist. They might be handled in a slapdash fashion by successive governments but the fact that these issues are not brushed under the carpet are the sign of a healthy democracy. A healthy mix of regional parties is a welcome development, given, of course, that development does not take the back seat. This is imperative for the diverse multi hued fabric of our nation to sustain the innumerable pressures that such a vast size naturally entails.

Chimu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chimu said...

Hmmmm.. Gals usually feel there is a lack of choices. Especially because in BPGC, they are accustomed to choosing from a wide variety. I guess, guys (BITSians) won't face this problem ;)
Atleast the quantity ;)

divyansh said...

Its like asking whether the hen came first or the egg.
the voters keep waiting for good candidates for whom they can vote. the wannabe good candidates keep waiting for voters to vote sensibly first and then contest. the crux is that everyone should do his/her job no matter what. if u can't find the best candidate then vote for the least bad.

Hayat said...

no doubt some would feel cynical about the whole 'jaago re' brouhaha..a few long haired, khadi wearing 19 year olds going out and voting may not change least not for now;
but at least we can comfort ourselves in the fact that we have at least started and a 'tipping point' might soon come.

"the world would change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 100"

watch out!

Hayat said...

:-P there are at least three 'at leasts' in the comment above!

smilingassassin said...

India is too heterogeneous for it to not face any of these problems... We have diverse people with even diverse mindsets and that too at a phase when it is at the acme of other country has probably gone through or will ever go through a phase that india is going through right now! it will take its own time n space for things to set right.. so instead of ranting about it maybe we should just do the least we can do to make things better(even that would be a huge positive step)... for instance get ur voters id card prepared and give it more preference over license or passport making(for a change)... voting comes ONLY after that! :)

me, as i am said...

Might sound a little weird, but somehow all these positive comments make me feel better about the whole business of voting. (yes Nimit, the talk with you helped too.)

And yeah, I just hope the 'tipping point' comes soon enough.. :)

ratpik said...

Haven't you heard of the Professionals Party of India or something synonymous to that comprising of well-educated people? Why haven't they been getting any seats? Indian politics is very entertaining.Would anyone have blogged about the 422nd amendment in their blog?We love bollywood, we love our politicians.Jai Ho or Bhai ho, its the great Indian tamasha, enjoy it :)