Should You Vote?

Unless some spectacular development dramatically alters the political situation, this scribe for the first time in his life will not vote in a general election. According to a media report the Election Commission will press into service Bollywood stars to motivate people to vote. Even without their exertions India might witness the largest ever voter turnout in the coming poll. One wonders how the Bollywood stars intend to motivate voters. One could well ask them: "Why should I vote?"

Will it make the slightest difference to the public who wins to form the government? The largest ever voter turnout is predicted because this election will witness the largest ever poll expenditure. According to the grapevine all major parties give Rs 10 crores to each candidate for starters. That opens the door for the candidate to tap the oodles of black money dished out by vested interests.

Why do the candidates seek to win? They most certainly exhibit no passion for ideology, or for policy, or even for attitude such as commitment to caste or community. Only the voters, the poor suckers, are expected to remain committed to caste and community. With just over a month to go before polling begins the parties have proved that they can ally with anyone and everyone as long as they can increase their tallies.

Until this moment of writing, with just over five weeks before polling begins, alliances are still not in place. The tottering Congress-SP alliance has already damaged prospects irretrievably at the ground level by the protracted dithering during negotiation. The BJD at the last minute has dumped the BJP and gone over to the Left. Quite a leap! The Shiv Sena is torn between Sharad Pawar and BJP. Sharad Pawar's NCP is torn between the Congress and Shiv Sena. The Congress is dead set against BJP because it is communal. But it cheerfully allies with SP which has joined forces with Kalyan Singh who demolished the Babri Masjid. The CPI-M considers the alliance with the BJD, which for over a decade was the closest ally with the communal BJP, as a great feather in its cap! Twenty per cent of Mayawati's candidates joined BSP just two months ago!

But enough! Nobody can seriously claim that policy has the slightest relevance in this election. Then what difference can the results make? Wait a minute. Experts say that this poll will be historic because Generation Next is competing in a big way. Youth they say will bring change. Oh yeah? One of the brightest among the youth is reckoned to be Sachin Pilot. Tsk-tsk! Delimitation altered his constituency by lopping off a large chunk of Gujjars who belong to his caste. This great young hope who imbibed modern wisdom in America's prestigious university, Wharton, is desperately seeking a constituency with a substantial Gujjar vote. Bingo! Why not South Delhi?

Why are parties so desperate to win when there is no policy at stake? To make money of course! Under US pressure Switzerland altered age old laws to make public the secret accounts of criminal money stashed in its banks. Of the entire world's nations - America, Russia, China and Europe - India has the largest amount of black money stashed in Switzerland. Whether it belongs to businessmen, bureaucrats or politicians, this criminal money could not have been earned without collusion by politicians. The Indian government has declined to take advantage of the new Swiss laws to identify the criminal account holders. No opposition party demanded of the government to expose the account holders. Germany through its official investigation unearthed German and Indian secret criminal account holders in a bank in another country. Germany offered to share its information with the Indian government free of cost. The government declined the offer. The opposition raised not a murmur of protest.

These are the parties and politicians who seek our votes. Had there been place on the ballot paper for conscientious voters to record their opposition to all candidates, one would have cheerfully gone to vote. In the absence of that there arises a moral dilemma. Should one vote and become complicit in a process that perpetuates this corrupt, criminal and cruel system? 


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

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