A moo point, basically …

Arbit/ Random

I might just not vote this year

with 3 comments

Before people go all JaagoRe on my a**, please let me explain –

I’ve always believed that when when you vote, you should do so because you are FOR a particular candidate/party/idealogy and not because you’re AGAINST someone. This whole ‘lesser of two evils’ school of thought is a fairly crappy way of casting your vote. With the elections almost upon us, the basic questions you address when you decide whom to vote are – Who? Why? What? How?

Who?

1. The Congress has never been my favourite party, mainly because of the shameful sycophancy and elitist approach shown by its members ever since I can remember. The UPA government – and right now, I’m not quite sure who make up the UPA because the constituents can change from the time I post this to the time someone reads this – has done a fairly terrible task on 2 fronts I consider fairly important:

– Security (It is not a good thing to accept terror attacks as an integral part of life in India. It is pathetic to have shitty responses to terrorist attacks and even worse to crow about ‘diplomatic triumphs’ like getting someone to accept blindingly obvious facts. And it is shameful, no matter what anyone may say, to have to shift a cricket tournament out of the country because we cannot provide security for it.)

– Education (The reservation saga which happened 3 years ago and affected most of us quite profoundly is not that easy to forget)

The lack of any positives which the UPA can be credited with inspite of a having ruled in a booming economic and foreign relation environment is by itself a major disappointment. It is a sad reflection on the last five years that the most interesting thing of the UPA rule was the no-confidence motion from last year. By interesting I mean more in an OMGWTF way than OhCool one. The party manifesto(doc) is quite surprising – some find it to be a joke – and the claim made in it over and over again about having delivered on promises made in 2004 in a very substantial measure indicates a fairly delusional group of politicians. Plus, it is not easy to forgive someone who screws up Jai Ho or who has a video where a suspicious looking character flashes scary grins at the camera and goes on and on about his hand while a group of street kids dance in coordinated freestyle. (I am unable to to locate the video on the internet which is quite surprising. I hope to rectify this soon).

2. The BJP and its allies took the word ‘opposition’ quite seriously and did just that quite consistently for the entire period of the last term. The amount of time and money wasted in walk-outs and adjourned sessions cannot be justified nor recovered. The party is yet to recover from the loss of a charismatic leader like AB Vajpayee and has hunted for one for too long without bothering to strengthen its base. A moderate L K Advani or a hawkish Modi are, on the face of it, quite scary propositions for quite a few people, and the BJP has done nothing to assuage these fears. Which is a real pity. What Varun Gandhi has said is shocking, and already people are drawing parallels between him and those leaders who claim to protect the minorities. If this ends up being the reason why the BJP wins (and that is a big IF), it’ll be a fairly diluted victory for sure. Besides, the BJP is yet to come out with its manifesto- at least I haven’t seen or heard about it till now. So if I vote for them, I’ll be voting for what they promised or promoted 5 years ago, which is ridiculous.

3. The Third Front would make a really good Opposition because (a) they don’t have any clear agenda of their own, (b) They have regional interests to protect, and (c) they have a lot of practice at opposing things left-right-centre. The Communist folks were at it even when they were supposed to be providing outside support to the current government. A good thumb rule which has emerged these days is to do/support everything that they consider evil or bad. It is impossible that the Third Front will form a government because they are just too fragmented with too many people who are not particularly known for consistency and stability. The communists continue to live in a world of their own – their Big Daddy Jyoti Basu believes that they committed a big blunder by not being part of the government (he then detaches his ventilator to show he is serious before suggesting that he still remains the best possible for PM). The BSP and their Big Sista’ realize that the ‘uplifting of the backward classes’ will require (sooner or later) educating the backward classes (i.e. giving them Primary Education and not reservations in Higher  Education). But this will go against  their whole policy of exploiting the ignorance of their vote bank, thereby limiting the impact they’ll have on National Politics. I count the Samajwadi Party, Lalu Yadav and RV Paswan in the Third Front too (although right now, I think they are partners of Congress), because they are what are called ‘journeymen’ in football – people who cannot stick with one club for too long. People with itchy feet and scratchy butts.

Why?

There is an absolute lack of transparency in the system. The media is more obsessed with monitoring infighting within parties, pre-poll alliances and switching of allegiances than raising relevant issues. People change parties, ideologies and stands with an alarming frequency. Parties who are allies today become sworn enemies tomorrow, thereby making it impossible to choose any candidate/party. If there was to be a ‘least bad’ coalition, it would be between the Congress and the BJP, which is quite sad by itself. Or is it … ?

How?

I am registered as a candidate in the region which elected Govinda to power the last time. My MP right now is Priya Dutt. I have no sense of belonging to any of the constituencies, no idea of how an MP can make any difference to my life. I mean, other than contributing to the horrible numbers-game will be inevitably ensue after the elections, how is an MP even relevant? – I still have no clue.

If I want to vote, I’ll have to produce a plethora of documents (on a weekday in a very short time window and very soon) to vote from where I stay right now, or create what is probably a fairly archaic proof of registration – a Ration Card. In response to my query as to how do so many immigrants vote so easily, the election officer says that that is because the first thing they do on getting to Mumbai is to get registered here while continuing to be registered voters in their original regions. Clearly, it is not a one vote per person system as touted. So my vote is not even that important, in that case.

When I was young and restless (which was like 3 years ago), I remember having a long discussion with some snobbish, wannabe-rich people in my old locality who didn’t vote because they thought it was beneath them. I remember telling them that if they didn’t vote, they didn’t have the right to comment about the state of the country. I remember quoting some Chinese philosopher that if the good people don’t worry about politics, then they have to accept being ruled by bad people. (The actual quote is better worded and has much more of an impact, trust me). I now see that things have come to a full circle, where I have new excuses for not doing the same things I once deemed inexcusable. Which is a real pity, no?

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Written by sujaybedekar

March 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Posted in arbit, india, Mumbai, politics

3 Responses

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  1. Hehe,

    I knew it was a stretch the analogy that is, but if you read the post, that analogy was particular reaction to another post.

    Let us discuss what is the “ideal way”? Do you have the time and resources to actually go out there and start a public campaign or a public litigation for a change in the policy? If you are, and then you refrain from voting, I bow to thee. but none of us have that kind of time or resources at hand.

    Remember that I support the NOTA vote because I agree that choosing lesser of the two evils is a bad way to vote. but by not voting, we are being robbed of our voices.

    Don’t you agree that by most of the political parties and the media, urban middle class is deemed to be a watcher but not a participant in the democracy? In such a scenario, even if you don’t vote- it won’t be seen as something new. It is merely a fad that exists in that “class”.
    If we had been voting earlier and stop now, yes it shows protest. Even if as ravi puts it, the voter turnout is 20%, what will happen? I doubt there are constitutional provisions that stop people from assuming power. (they might not have a moral standings, but using morality and politics in the same paragraph let alone sentence is delusional)

    And again, I will ask the question why socialism failed? In principle it was wonderful, equality etc etc, but the problem was that the one to distribute the justice was assumed to be fair- That is ridiculous. So, to assume that parties will field good candidates is naive. I believe that they will always be corrupt- Always be selfish b*******, ever ready to gain more power – I used money analogy because of this simple fact : If you go to a seller and tell him to provide x,y,z features, he will do it, but only when he feels that you will buy his product after he makes those changes. If he thinks that even after making those changes you won’t buy it, why should he care?

    You are one of the rare species to call Advani moderate!! Wasn’t he the hardliner of the “communal right wing ” fascist party in India?

    on the last para:

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    PS: You need not have given the link, I have subscribed to your blog, was gonna comment over weekend.

    PPS: on the other hand, like you suggested in the other post, I would also hate the majority of “jaago re” campaigners as most of them are doing it for the fad!

    shrek

    March 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    • All the arguments you give are indeed fine arguments to convince people that they must vote. My question – rather my decision to not vote (most probably) – is more due to the fact that I find it hard to distinguish between the parties on the basis of their idealogies, their candidates and their allies. For instance, someone who supported the Samajwadi Party(!) was told that (s)he should support the Congress. But yesterday, in a move which makes me feel all prophetic because I expected the combine to break any day, the two parties are no longer allies. In that case, how does one decide whom to vote for?
      Me calling Advani a moderate is more a reflection on the emergence of extremists on either ends of the spectrum: Those who go overboard defending their ‘culture’ while taking considerable liberties themselves (I am not referring solely to Hindu fanatics); and those who go overboard trying to be secular. Advani and Modi are the only two people currently who have been unwavering in their idealogies over a long period of time. The fact that their consistency appeals to me more than their actual idealogy is what I’m not particularly happy about.

      PS: loved the Animal Farm quote. I need to read Orwell much more.
      PPS: Thanks for the reply. It’s one of the saner/interesting ones this blog has seen – better than most of the posts 😛

      sujaybedekar

      March 27, 2009 at 1:51 pm

  2. shrek

    March 28, 2009 at 3:29 am


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