The 2014 election for India’s House of the People, also called the Lower House of Parliament (or Lok Sabha in Hindi) has started. Some have voted, many yet to. This article, which reads like a campaign speech, is about a candidate contesting an election from more than one location.
Section 33 of the Representation of People Act of 1951 allows a citizen to contest polls from more than one district (to a maximum of two districts) in any general election. Some famous people in this election are using this law — critics call it a loophole — to run for two seats in Parliament. This is like Sachin Tendulkar being allowed to bat twice in each inning during every cricket match.
Suppose I am a prominent and powerful citizen (and believe me, I am neither), and I get my party to nominate me to run from the states of Gujarat and Bihar. My views would be short and simple:
Fellow citizens, I assume you all know who I am. I am Vasant Gandhi. I am a candidate for Parliament. I am running from the Gaya district in Bihar and at the same time from the Vadodara district in Gujarat.
I was not born in Bihar. I did not grow up in Bihar. I did not go to school or college in Bihar. In fact, I have never been to Bihar. Fellows, no matter how prominent and powerful I am, it is morally wrong for these reasons for me to represent a place I have never been to and a people I have never met.
I have never bought a thing sold in or even made in Bihar. No merchant of Bihar has ever benefited from me. I have never paid taxes in Bihar. Fellows, no matter how prominent and powerful I am, it is morally wrong for my party to let me represent a constituency I have never supported.
I do not know the culture, costumes, festivals, food, geography, history, or traditions of Bihar. I am completely ignorant about Bihar. Fellows, no matter how prominent and powerful I am, it is morally wrong for me to ask for your vote.
I am prominent and powerful, and I want to win at any cost and become a Member of Parliament – maybe a minister or even Prime Minister. By contesting the election from two seats, Gujarat and Bihar, I am increasing my chances of winning and reducing the potential for experiencing the agony of defeat. Fellows, it is morally wrong for me to run from two places.
I am a coward and have no confidence that I will win from Gujarat, where I come from. If I win in both places, I will resign from Bihar and let the government of India conduct a by-election, forcing the voters to vote again. Fellows, no matter how prominent and powerful I am, it is morally wrong for me to waste the government’s money and the voters’ time on a by-election.
Your vote is precious. Would anyone here give away his or her precious possessions to a stranger? Don’t give away your vote. Don’t vote for me.