Voting, it takes time to register and learn about the parties and the candidates. Often, if the candidate is good, the party is not, and vice-versa. On the Election Day, standing in long queues or slog through scorching weather knowing that the chances your individual vote will make a difference among the hundreds and thousands are pretty much negligible.
Is it irrational, then, to exercise your franchise?
Most people are disenchanted by politics, as most politicians as confidence-tricksters and the political system are no more than a means of furthering the vested interests. Voting has become an activity to some that are not worth the effort. Certainly, many voters take a nonchalant attitude. There are some optimists who think because they are voting, people similar to them who support the same candidate/party probably vote, too.
But, very importantly, bad politicians are sent to “New Delhi” by good people who don’t vote. Isn’t it?
Mandatory voting in other countries
Do you know that nearly 30 countries have compulsory voting? In Greece and Brazil, for instance, voting is mandatory. If you miss Election Day, you will have to justify it, else you cannot open a bank account, have a passport, driving license, etc. In Bolivia, they can be prevented from drawing their salaries from the bank account.
Belgium has the oldest existing compulsory system (since 1892). It is fine for non-voting. If you don’t vote for 10 elections, you can lose the right to vote. You also face difficulties of getting a job in the public sector. Australia has compulsory attendance. Non-attendees face fines and possible imprisonment. In many systems, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain”.
India is a great country, whose greatness is at risk when a significant number of people, nay citizens, doesn’t participate. I don’t want other people making my choices for me. I wish to have a choice in things that affect me. Though voting does not guarantee that one’s preferences will prevail, choosing not to vote denies a person of having a say in a democracy.
Regardless of your political ideologies or preferences, voting is a right that you are entitled to as an Indian citizen. Take your time to get educated on the politicians, political parties and the options available. The pessimistic view that your vote won’t count, is naïve, to say the least.
The time has come to cast your vote and exercise your right-duty pack. We owe it, not to the politicians, but to ourselves. If you don’t vote, you are in a state of ignorance, and you are giving scope to someone to fake your privilege. Unmindful of the gender, income, caste religion…, on the poll day, come as one entity, the voter.
Every vote counts. Make sure yours does, too. Just do it!