Friday, May 8, 2009

Whote vote?

Voting from the Vasant Kunj constituency is interesting. I say 'Vasant Kunj' constituency because not even my candidates seem to know which one we belong to. The EC website says we're West Delhi. My Congress and BJP candidates seem to think we're South Delhi (even though they are officially candidates from West Delhi). It's all so bizarrely convoluted and no one seems to care.

It disturbed me greatly that up until an hour before I was to cast my ballot, I knew more about the US Vice Presidential candidates than I did about those running to become Lok Sabha members in my own backyard. At 7 am on voting day, I ran a quick internet scan and checked my newspapers to learn more about them (incidently both major candidates from my area had the same first names). At the end of my research I discovered that 2 candidates are pro-Gujjars and the Congress guy was running on the goodwill generated by his brother (who was denied a ticket by his party this time round - why, I wonder.)
Having no love lost for caste politics and not knowing much about the 3rd gentleman, I had no option but to vote for party over candidate.

This is the first time it struck me (and I've been voting since I was 18) that most of us in this nation have gotten into the nasty habit of not knowing about our candidates and therefore not expecting anything from those who come into power. I don't support abstinence from voting, but I also think it is a bit pointless to walk into a polling booth knowing nothing about who you're voting for. Why don't I know anything about my representative? Why haven't they bothered to communicate with me? Why don't I know where they hold their rallies? Is there something wrong with the system, with the campaigning rules? Am I, as a middle class voter, not as important as a voter from other sections of society (how can that be when the papers announced that the highest turnout was that of the middle-class voter). Or is it me? Am I that apathetic? Do I really believe 'they're all the same' so why should I bother?

So, with all due respect to all those (including me) who campaigned for the very idea of democracy, who said that just putting your vote forward s putting your voice forward, I beg to differ. It's simply not enough to get a blue ink mark on ones index finger. We've got to know more, find out more, care more about who we're selecting as our representative. We've got to demand more.

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