The 2014 Lok Sabha elections are on, 800-odd million people are voting in the seventh-largest country in the world. Unlike earlier elections there’s too much of information, data, rhetoric, and opinions. Especially opinions. Anyone who is anybody is presenting their opinion; on mainstream media and on social media. Which only means that there’s enough scope for confusion for the voter.
Many constituencies have already completed voting, so perhaps, this post – in that sense – is delayed. A large number of first-time voters are in the fray. Many parties are attempting to woo this segment. There’s ample mud-slinging going on between political parties; many complaints to the EC (Election Commission). As a voter, who is concerned about the country, how do we choose?
My cousin and I were out to buy a mobile phone today. He saw a few phones and decided not to buy. He couldn’t make sense of the one that made sense for him in the plethora that was available to him. We left the shop.
We discussed his confusion. People who sell products have a reason to sell you something. Perhaps, certain products offer better margins to them than others. Naturally, they would push those products more than the others. I asked my brother, what he wanted. in other words, what did he want from a phone and how much he was willing to pay. What’s important to you, in a phone, I asked him?
Enough advertisements have promoted this message, and I do the same. What’s important to you? Who will deliver the requirements that you have? That’s the only way to vote. It requires involvement, however; some research. That’s how you will know where and how your vote should be cast. The most interesting thing about a democracy is that you can vote the way you want in spite of your friends saying something else. This is perhaps the perfect opportunity for you to get into a debate about what you believe in. Let your vote be about you. Even if it is against the popular vote or for it. Anything is right, as long as you believe in it.
We all know that our vote counts. But if you have not given enough thought about how your vote will be cast; it doesn’t count. When the ink is marked on your finger and you press that one button, be sure of one thing: You have pressed that button with conviction and awareness of what you expect your vote to mean. More importantly, remember this: irrespective of who you vote for, the government of the day is responsible for you; irrespective of who voted for the government – they have to take care of the country. The government has no way of knowing who you voted for. So, the government has to work for you. Even if you did not vote for the party that’s formed the government – you have a right to ask questions of that government.
If you are lucky and your voting day coincides with a long weekend, please go ahead, get out of the city. But, after you have cast your vote.
Perhaps, you are curious about how I will vote. I will not tell you. Our constitution gives me that right. And this appeal I make here is not about asking you to vote for this party or that. It’s asking you to go out and vote. You are welcome to ask me (not in the comments, but in a face-to-face conversation) how I will vote. But, even in that conversation, I can only tell you who I will vote for and why.
You will have to take your own decision. That’s tough. But not impossible. Go out. Vote.