The present political crisis in Maharashtra shows how voters’ verdict is the least important in our democracy and selfish agendas of political parties matter the most
Abraham Lincoln once said “Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
However, the poor voters of Maharashtra are sitting on blisters despite having come out and voted to give a mandate that made it feasible to form a government.
The present political crisis in the State is sure to disgust the voter when he goes to vote for the next elections. Already, this time the voter turnout in Maharashtra assembly elections was below 50%. In several other States too, the voter is being taken for granted and his verdict, thrashed, as per the whims and fancies of political parties.
Hence, this issue is so relevant to people of Pune who cast their votes with immense alertness and study and must hate how their vote is being kicked around like a football.
I could not vote this time for the Maharashtra Assembly elections as I was out of the country but, on return, when I asked my two maids who they voted for, as they have been very regular voters and eloquent about politics; both said they did not go to vote. When I asked them why, they said what is the use when the Netas of any which party do what they want once elected and do not even attend to their daily miseries. But I told them this time, it seemed like the wave of the lotus, to which one of them said her elected representative did not even bother to solve her neighbourhood’s water crisis.
Indeed, steadily, people are getting disgusted with this mockery of democracy, where Netas have grown to be VIPs at the expense of the common person’s peril.
It is such a shame that in Maharashtra, political parties were pitted against each other on certain ideologies and shouted hoarse against each other during election campaigns. Some swore that they are secular political parties, with a mission to defeat right wing parties. And vice versa!
The pitch was so high that people felt if they voted for the party that matches their philosophy of life, Maharashtra will progress.
However, after the elections, political parties who were sworn enemies are ready to dissolve all differences, resolve issues and fool the people by saying that they will chalk out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) wherein all agree on certain issues that will benefit the common man. Then, in all possibility, there might be in-fights between the alliance that would rule and the government would collapse, before its tenure ends.
So again the taxpayers’ money will be used up to fight another election, leaving the State facing acute crisis of wet drought, in disarray.
So, look how a common voter is in a catch 22 crisis:
- He or she is hammered to the point of feeling guilty as to how he must fulfil his duty as a citizen by going out and voting. He does go out and vote and then finds his vote gone to some other party due to new coalitions, post-elections. What about the duty of the political parties to preserve the mandate of the voter? Isn’t it their mandatory responsibility? Who will bell the cat and any case which political party cares for the next five years?
- While Netas shout from the roof top aout their political manifestos that would upgrade the daily life of citizens of every strata of society, once they get elected, they work for lobbyists of various hues and shades. The common person is left in the lurch as kickbacks and commissions for every of a common man’s projects, is usurped by politicians, babus and contract agencies ensures deficient quality projects for the citizens. Who will bell the political cat?
- With over Rs.6,500 crore of anonymous donations received under the secretive electoral bonds, before the State elections, there is clearly too much money that dictates the election campaigning. With such colossal financials at stake, even if the voter votes for an independent honest candidate, his vote s seen as a waste. The culture and psyche of the political symbol is too hard to die in this country.
- Finally, thanks to NGOs, particularly, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), NOTA (None of The Above) came into being on the ballot paper/EVM. Here too the Supreme Court has passed only part of the demand thus making NOTA toothless. Nevertheless, this is the only way that a citizen can teach political candidates a lesson. Already there the number of voters using them is growing. And we all need to fight for a more powerful NOTA.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,