Sunday, March 15, 2009

15th Lok Sabha Elections

15th Lok Sabha Elections

Oh! The next general election- the fifteenth to be precise are almost on the doors!

Are we prepared! Are we programmed in our thoughts! Have we decided what kind of government do we wish should take over to rule us! Who all should win and who shall be defeated! Whether party should get a prominence over candidate or the candidate’s qualities should supersede his allegiance with a particular party!

These and many questions concern India as one and half moth long election process is about to begin in the country during April-May 2009.

There are issues of alliances – whether alliances should be announced before or be allowed to take shape after the results are declared! Whether parties should have their prime-ministerial candidates be announced or they could wait!

More important than these questions, I feel we should ask ourselves is what kind of polling percentatge should be considered adequate. If a constituency polls below 50 percent of its valid votes does it really reflect that the elected candidate truly represents the best choice!

Should the parties be allowed to behave as they select their candidates as a matter of their choice or there should be some minimum norms that are to be adhered during the selection of a suitable candidate for each constituency.

Whether the parties should have clear manifestations of their ideas about the kind of governance that they propose to adopt if elected be made mandatory before going to polls or be declared after being elected. Can there be some way to monitor to check if they have adhered to their words by some agency.

Let this be known that if we go to polls in as large numbers as is practically possible there is a better chance of electing the right candidate. If we do not entertain our rights now we lose that much credibility in criticizing the elected government. Not that by a large turnover we would necessarily be successful in electing the best candidates for the 15th Lok Sabha. Atleast we increase our statistical probability of electing the most suitable candidate yet we have been witnessing that men and women do not exercise their franchise powers. We must try to rationally understand our responsibility in the formation of the government.

Do I assume that this time we would get motivated enough and motivate others to also execute our powers in the general election. The powers that come to us mostly after five years should not be allowed to go invain. Let us raise the polling percentage by atleast a margin of 10 to 20 percent over the last time. It is sometimes the belief of people that their votes do not really count much – that it can not have an impact on the winning or losing of a particular candidate. They probably forget that each drop of water contributes to the volume however insignificantly but still quantitatively. Some people also have this second logic that I do not find a suitable candidate whom I could vote – in fact some one had suggested that the ballot paper should have a column for none of the above! Well, I think that kind of logic can not be considered here it is for chief election commissioner and the government to make or amend such rules. Our aim or objective should be to find the most suitable candidate from those who are in the fray. If we are granted such an option we may end up with many constituencies that may return a null candidate as winner. Do we then again go to polls for those constituencies or we leave their representations vacant. A re-election is an expensive process. The motive of my article is not to support a particular party or a candidate nor is it to make amendments or corrections to the process of our elections! We have to weigh our candidates logically, rationally and free of any sentimental or emotional attachments with them. Sometimes I do feel that people could have a third point of view for not exercising their powers of voting – they may say that they do not know about their candidates enough. I partly agree with their views yet if one wants to find out it should not be that uphill a task to know about the prime candidates of a constituency.

In this fifteenth general elections let us show to the world that indeed India is one of the biggest democracies in the world as it has the largest franchise power in terms of numbers. Let us also display that we use democratic means to elect those who are going to govern us – that alone could be considered a good strength of our kind of democracy!

Abhaya Sharma, India March 15 2009 11:53 PM IST

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