The results of the Maharashtra assembly election are out. The congress-NCP alliance falls short of majority by just one seat, while as expected the infighting within the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance led to its fall while the Shiv-Sena’s breakaway fraction, the MNS did play spoil sport by dividing the Marathi votes. Everything was almost as predicted by the political pundits and the exit polls as well.
This election was just the same as the elections that have happened before. The campaigning, the mud-slinging, the rebellions, the asset declarations, the rallies, the demonstrations of power by our politicians and the bragging of our previously elected leaders about the work done by them(however small it may have been) everything was just the same. Like always our politicians left no stone unturned to woo the voters. There were rallies and morchas everywhere. Not to be ignored was the coming of the star campaigners of every party to campaign for their party. No politician left any opportunity to address the media, and whatever may be the topic did very shrewdly use the media attention to glorify their own image and malign that of their opponent’s. The ruling party kept on emphasizing how the state had progressed under it’s able leadership, while the opposition going with it’s name opposed to what the ruling party said. Everything was the same.
Also everywhere people were encouraged to vote, and not to enjoy the voting day leave as a holiday. There were hoardings put up, both huge and small, and also advertisements on the idiot box. Each of them asking people to vote. Vote because it is your right to. Vote because it is your only opportunity to elect your leader, and that if you don’t vote you will be responsible if the state of the state turns out to be a sorry state. Well everything they said is true. If you don’t vote and choose your leader, you don’t have any right to complain later on. If you don’t vote, it is you who pave the way to power for politicians who can win on the basis of bogus votes and money feeding. But after seeing all these I began thinking, ‘why do we vote?’ Well…the answer is quiet obvious, we vote to elect our representative. A person, who can represent us as a whole. A person, who can raise the problems we face in the assembly and get them solved. We vote to show that the person we are voting for enjoys our support and thereby the government such representatives from, is the government of the people. That such elected governments enjoy the support of the people. This elected government must now work as a unit to solve the problems of the people who gave them the power. These people who form the government must end the differences between themselves and work for the betterment of the society. This government must serve the people. We vote because we want all this to happen. But does anything of this really happen? If it does, to what extent?
We have been voting since India became independent. We have been electing our leaders since then. Earlier we did it by the use of ballot boxes, now we do it by the use of EVM’s. But the basic process of the people electing the leaders has remained the same. Yet, the situation of the people and the way their problems are (not) solved has also been the same. Majority of the government officials are corrupt and it still takes a considerable amount of time and a heavy dose of money feeding to the government officers to get any work done. Every time I see the traffic police at the signal, I fear for he would stop me and rob me of 50/100 rupees for apparently no fault of mine. If someone’s bike skids and he falls off on or near the traffic signal the policemen rush to him, not to help him get up but to remove his bike’s key, so that he cannot go away without filling the pockets of the policemen. The pizza comes in less than 30 minutes, while the ambulance takes hours to reach someone suffering from a heart attack. The electricity production still does not match the electricity requirement. And while there are power cuts at other places, the areas which have the houses of the politicians continue to enjoy uninterrupted power supply. The government hospitals are in complete mess, and there are more patients than beds, while the doctors continue to tend to people at their private clinics who can pay them the fees they ask, also enjoying the salary from the government, for not attending to patients at the government hospital. The farmers continue to take their own lives as the government fails to solve their problems. The slums continue to grow, and also the illiteracy rate and the percentage of people below the poverty line. While our leaders continue to amass wealth and grow richer, which is evident from their huge properties, assets and bank accounts. We all know where this money comes from. Almost every one of our politicians is involved in a scam that continues to fill their pockets. Some of these have come in front of all while some remain hidden to this date. The government is negligent towards our policemen who are equipped with age-old equipment and no bullet proof jackets and are forced to face the bullets of the terrorists having AK47 rifles. We saw many of our policemen die at the hands of these terrorists when Mumbai was attacked only because they did not have the proper equipment to face such a situation. And even today almost a year after the incident, the condition remains the same. Though funds were granted, but they got gobbled up in the way. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more things that are a clear example that our leaders have done nothing till date. There may even be much darker and dirtier truths below.
We have been electing our leaders for the past 60 years now. Yet at every election time, the issue of ‘Bijli, Paani aur Sadak’ continues to feature in their speeches. They have shamelessly been giving the same promises and later on forgetting them. Today when we vote, all we get is the choice to select from amongst a set of corrupt, power-hungry candidates. We very rarely have an option who we can say is honest and won’t be corrupted by power. Try asking your candidate to give in writing what he has promised will be kept. Most probably he will chicken out. And if we realize that electing a particular candidate was a mistake, to rectify that mistake we have to wait for a good 5 years. And then at the time of the next elections all we can do is not elect him. There is absolutely no guarantee that the person who we will be electing now will use is powers for our benefit. It is just a process of trial and error with us getting more and more options as the time moves on. And moreover, we can’t undo what we have done until the term ends.
In the end, if our elected leaders can enjoy a 5 year-long paid vacation, why are we shouted at if we take a one day vacation? Why are we slammed if we do not vote? After all what can our voting change, it will probably bring down one person and bring to power the other one. How does it matter to us if the condition still has to remain to same? If nothing is to change, why to vote?