Thursday, May 8, 2014

The India Files - Elections 2014

After voting in this election I am no wiser than I was before about the process. What is different is that there is more confusion. Earlier someone would land up at home and give us voter slips. Now we don't know if the voter slip is enough to vote, what to do if we don't get it, should we take the other cards like for example the ten year old voter id cards where we look totally different with us and should we also take the useless Aadhaar card which the gas companies have now discarded for proof. Finally I carried all my cards - Driving License, PAN card, credit cards, Aadhaar card, Voting Id Card, all my id cards from my school, college, my neighbourhood park id card - just in case they want some other card. You never know with these chaps - they get very creative and ask for the one card you forgot.

The other thing I noticed is that the queues have got long. Everyone wants too vote early and that jammed the lines. I could also make out form the talk and crowd behavior that most of the so-called educated people knew nothing about the candidates, knew nothing about the rules to be followed. Not a great sign for our democracy. Almost everyone was not sure how many candidates were there, how many parties were there, now many parties had tied up with someone else, what their symbols were. In the 30 off candidates we knew four or five parties by name, did not know the candidates names. Obviously no one knows their antecedents or their capability to lead. It is our duty to vote, that's it.

If this is the case in an urban, literate city one can imagine the status of rural India. Many probably live decades behind. They only have trickle down information. but for all that I am now convinced that the one way to win an election is by bombarding the public with ads. We vote out of habit and prejudice not so much by rational decision making.

I am not even sure if the process is the right one now because I have almost no control over it. I vote for someone and hope that he or she will do something good for the people and the country. But this someone of whom we know very little and see very little disappears again after the elections. He or she makes me arrangements, finds new partners, adopts new ideologies and by the end of it the person who I voted for has undergone a complete transformation. His or her bosses have changed, sometimes this person takes up the fight with his old ideological enemies (and mine) and before I know it, the boss is someone I never liked trusted or believed in. In some weird way I feel that all these chaps have got together and manipulated the vote out of me and got together again to form the numbers.

The information that is available online about most candidates is almost laughable. Most of them are so cooked up - the money in bank, FDs, gold, assets - are shown in such low numbers that you can laugh your belly off. How has the internet helped me, how has this information boom helped me, how does it help the country move forward I do not know. We are only hoping that this system that made some time ago will somehow take us forward. I doubt it will.

For one thing it is almost certain that no party will ever come to absolute power in India in the near future. Everyone has got wise and are catching on to vote banks and using them as bargaining tools. As long as there are coalitions we will only have compromised governments and leaders. As long as we have compromised leaders we will not more forward. More sops, more favoritism, more appeasement. More entertainment perhaps but little progress at least from the government side. In such a scenario the government should reduce its role in most things and let the people do their own thing.


Hmmm said...

Hariji, thanks for articulating how most of us feel about elections this year. Had started adding more to this comment, and it became too posted it here on my blog:

Rajendra said...

go slow is the mantra for a political matter which, and the EC. On education, on health, anything that makes the voter strong..and enjoy the benefits. Why can't you vote on the net, if you can transact thus in a bank? Are we at least working on it?

Harimohan said...

Thanks Hmmm. Let me check your blog and get back.

Harimohan said...

That's something so many people are talking about Raja, voting on the net. I wonder if such a thing is possible. But whichever way it is done, I am appalled at the lack of information, the lack of control on the entire process.