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The Dance Of Democracy

by on March 28, 2014
Cross-posted from Setu’s Blog.
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about my desire to do my bit for this country, and this world, to make it a better place. Considering how huge and important the impending elections in the world’s largest democracy, and my dear nation, India, are, it is befitting that I express my views about the state of it.

I’m not a member of any political party (not that I know of, at least). And I have strong reasons to admire and hate every party. Seriously. I have enough reasons on both side that it comes down to a very illogical, but personal choice for who I’ll end up voting for, during the “biggest festival of democracy“.

Festivals, from what I understand about the meaning of the word, are about celebration and for spreading joy and happiness. And since the day the longest elections in the history of India were announced (and much before) I doubt anyone has seen anything but. Not a single cheerful, hopeful emotion has been demonstrated by any candidate from any party. The elections seem more about showing why you shouldn’t vote the other guy to power than about why you should vote me. They seem about proving who is the worse guy, while we both are bad for you.

I turned 20 a couple of months back and this is the first time I’ll ever be voting, and already, I have such strong hatred towards the system that it makes me not want to vote. The state of politics and the legislative branch of the Government in this country makes me sad, and their antics make me wanna puke.

It sucks that elections aren’t fought on ideologies and policies but on name-calling and irrational promises. It is sad that most of the promises made in election manifestos are half-baked. It is frightening to know that we trust people who would give up their morals and sell their loyalty for the sake of a ticket to fight the elections.

Let’s be honest. Most of us know the candidate we want to vote for (yes, I’m talking about the white-bearded guy from Gujarat). But, does any one of us know what he wants to do for the country? He wants to wipe out corruption, great, but how? He wants to bring jobs to the poor and stimulate the economic growth, urm, what’s the plan there? And I can go on and on about every promise that has been made during every speech that doesn’t get even close to the action plan to achieve those.

I recently got done watching all the 7 seasons of ‘The West Wing‘, an American TV show that is about the life of the senior staffers to the President of the United States of America. During those seasons, they have beautifully shown 2 elections being conducted and how the Presidential candidates fight and win elections. And that’s actually what inspired me to right this.

I want to vote for Narendra Modi, only because he is the man who has put Gujarat in the fastlane of progress since the horrific 2001 earthquakes with its epicenter in Bhuj, Kutch. To bring Modi to power, he needs to win a majority, 272 to be precise, of seats in the Lok Sabha. And for the same, I should be voting for the Shiv Sena/BJP candidate in my constituency.

So, for getting the guy man who I wish becomes the PM, I have to vote for a random politician who only shows up 2-3 times every 5 years, and whose posters line up potholed roads which he didn’t bother doing anything about. That doesn’t seem fair, does it?

It gets deeper. I can’t really expect the Member of Parliament (hereafter, MP) to talk to me, or understand my problems and act upon them. I can’t express my opinions to him about the bills that are in the Parliament, or my issues that should become bills. I can’t expect him to go against his party, and vote for a bill that would actually benefit his constituents, while it may not make a difference to the rest of the country. I may not have voted for him, but, in the end, I am his constituent, and he represents me in the most powerful law-making body of the country.

Oh, and honestly, those are far-fetched desires. I can’t expect him to represent the party he is contesting from in the next elections as these, because the morality, being with a party whose ‘ideology’ you agree with, doesn’t exist. It is about how much money which party would throw at you, and which would give you the ticket to fight the elections.

Accountability, or rather, the lack of thereof, is the reason I think Indian politics is in such a terrible and pitiable state. That’s also the reason our opinions of politicians are the same as that of thugs and sleazebags. Of course, there are exceptions, and those exceptions are the very reason I have some hopes for the future of this country.

So, here’s what I think, and here’s what I feel underlines how this all changes. Here’s what I’m going to be doing for the next month, before I set out to cast my first vote on the 24th of April.

Get in touch with the representatives representing various parties, competing in my constituency, and ask them why I should vote for them. I want to ask them about my election issues, and what they’d do for them, during the next 5 years. Ask them for their contact details and if I can get in touch with them in the future when I need to talk about the bills that are under debate in the LS.

I will vote for the man I want to see as my MP, not the man who is a member of the party whose PM nominee I want to see at the center on 16th May. In the end, what the MP does, with regards to my constituency, in the next 5 years, will matter more. Because pothole-filled roads, higher electricity prices, incomplete infrastructure projects, street-lamps that don’t work, and errant auto-rickshaw/taxi drivers are the things I can talk to him about, and expect him to do something about.

That doesn’t mean these are the only things that bother me. I want to be able to talk about conducive economic policies, trade practices, military funding, education, healthcare, security forces, para-military, environment, major infrastructure projects, scientific research, and a million other things that deserve a national debate. Someday, I want to be able to discuss these with my MP as well as the PM candidate, but, that’s not possible today. Change is slow and time consuming. But, it must start somewhere.

So, this is where it starts. This is how the uneducated lot that serves and frames the laws that govern the educated lot, learns they need to be responsible to govern the 10 crore new voters. The voter of today is more well-read and aware about everything that matters to him, and he deserves more than a guy who relaxes in his extravagant holiday home, except when he is directed by his ‘party leadership’ to go to the LS to cast his vote for a bill. This is to show the politicians that the voter today actually gives a damn about who governs him and how. This is how the PM candidate 10-15 years down the line will know to be more humble, and understand the problems that plague constituents, and bother to listen to their problems before deciding what his next speech is about.

Until today, we the people have been dancing at the behest of the lords who are intolerant to our questions. Not anymore. It is time to do the right thing and make sure the laws of this country as stated in the revered Constitution of India, are upheld.

It’s time to make the politicians dance, The Dance Of Democracy.

Parting notes:
1) I have used the masculine (guy) while referring to the politicians all along because that represents the majority of them, and my current MP. That, in no way, is meant as a bias, but is only a very general linguistic usage.
2) I have written most of this post as what I want, but, in most cases, I think it becomes obvious that it’s about each person who will vote.
3) This is something I really am going to be trying to do. And, if you agree, I want you to do the same. It’d be great to share what actually the result of this is. If so and you want to contact me, there are a couple of ways you do so as detailed here.

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