The Chief Election Commissioner had announced the dates for the general elections to be held nationwide. The “Festival of Democracy” (Elections), will be spread over April and May 2019, in seven phases.
A few politicians have already started creating controversies around the dates being fixed like citing a particular community cannot vote due to Ramzan and so on. It must be noted at the outset that conducting general elections of great magnitude in a country like India is certainly not a joke. It requires meticulous planning and coordination and making several arrangements to conduct the elections peacefully in as many states. India is a very vast country with diverse custom and culture and as many religions existing for years and decades and having extreme climatic conditions too. There is no dearth of festivals and events as one festival or the other keep coming up almost every month. Add to this, there are several political parties – national and regional — and thousands of political leaders contesting the elections.
In our country, even during the festival time – be it Ramzan, Navaratri, Diwali or Christmas, people do prioritise their work, business, trade, profession, and go to their respective places of work/offices. Even schools nowadays have greatly reduced the number of vacation holidays. So, it’s wrong to say that “election dates” clash with that of a festival and so on. After all, the job of casting a vote by standing in the queue for a couple of hours should not be cumbersome at all. Will one not spend hours in a Mall or food stall during a festival period?
Indian democracy is alive and kicking in our “Mahan Bharat”. It’s, in fact, a Herculean task to conduct elections in a big country like India especially considering the situation the country faces today like terror attacks, internal law and order, and so on. In this context, we should applaud the efforts taken by our Election Commission and its officers and staff, in making all the preparations beforehand and conducting the elections in a systematic manner and peacefully.
However, what is rather painful is the percentage of voters casting their votes, is never encouraging. We have seen in many elections, how even in the prosperous cities and localities, the percentage of voting have been much lower than the average figures. In fact, in the localities which have the “upper strata of people”, the percentage of votes cast, has always been quite low. Whereas, the voters in the villages and urban areas have always turned out in large numbers to cast their votes!
I, therefore, have a suggestion or an idea. Why not link budget allocation to the percentage of votes polled? Thus, if an area votes 20 per cent, they will get only 20 per cent (or proportionately) and cannot crib later. The motto should be — no vote, no money, no amenities. If this is not practical, link it to supply of water, electricity, provision of infrastructure, and so on.
I also feel voter apathy is existent because they have no connection with their corporator or MLA or MP and feel that their votes will have no effect — things would anyway continue to remain the same….they feel! If the elected representatives have better connections with the people, some amount of the voter apathy could be reduced.
We need to work to demystify these elected posts and make them more accessible to people from all walks of society, ready to serve in these posts. Only then will there be a better exercise of electoral rights.
Let us remember that it is our prime duty to exercise our franchise in the “great general elections” to elect ‘our representatives and the lawmakers (MPs)’. So, do not take advantage of the weekend and the holiday on the election day. It’s just once in five years. Do not forget to cast your valuable vote. Exercise your fundamental right.
It’s your vote that will decide the “fate” of the nation!
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)