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Democratic Dialogue

April 5, 2009

A: Do you know we have elections coming up?

B: Oh yeah, the election frenzy has already caught up with everyone in the media..

A: It’s worth the hype. With 714 million voters, it is perhaps the largest democratic exercise in the world.

B: Are you going to vote?

A: I want to, but for whom?

B: There are options, plenty of them.

A: Like? It’s either the Congress or the BJP. And eventually it’s going to be neither. We’ll have another hotchpotch result, another unstable coalition government and revised manifestos to suite each of the participating member with all the promises forgotten in the process.

B: But by not voting, you are losing the right to seek accountability.

A: See, while I want accountability from the centre, I also want my elected MP to deliver in my constituency. The roads are still the same mess they were. The concrete dump in the neighbourhood is still where it was three years ago. The traffic has only worsened. There are still no clean toilets in municipal schools nor there is provision for clean drinking water. And worst of all, we don’t see the dudes we vote for after the elections are over. My leader has to be accessible if he has to be able to deliver in his constituency.

B: So you mean by not voting you are going to get your voice heard? You think it even matters to them.

A: Even if I vote, does it matter to them?

B: Of course it will, if a number of educated indifferent voters change their attitude of indifference towards voting.

A: No matter what we do, our numbers are too little to create a wave of change.

B: If you want good governance, there are educated MPs standing for elections. They know the problems and the way to their solutions.

A: You mean people like Varun Gandhi. He is a graduated from London School of Economics. I am sure he knows how to create problems and complicate matters further.

B: Agreed, but then there are those who can make a difference. Look at Milind Deora, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Omar Abdullah, they all are a breath of fresh air in Indian politics.
A: But how many can spread their liberal and forward minded values to the party? Will they dissociate themselves from the Yadavs and Mayawatis and Modis who are pretty much the king makers in these elections? No, all they seek is power.

B: So vote for the emerging parties of modern India. There are a number of educated Indians standing for various seats. They come up with no prior legacy. Campaign for them. Help them win.

A: Name three such parties.

B: Loksatta, Youth For Equality, Bharat Punarnirman Sena, Professionals Party of India…you want more? Catch up with this Saturday’s issue of Mint. They have a whole list of parties who disillusioned people like you can vote for.

A: What do you mean disillusioned?

B: People who have no faith in the system.

A: Look there has to be something better than democracy which can defeat communalism, casteism and vote bank politics in India. Only a sound agenda before elections and a solid performance after them should be the deciding criteria. Look at what happened in the US. When will we have our Obama moment?

B: Well you have a point. But let’s face it; democracy is the best form of governance today. May be it has to change so as to remain relevant to the times of the nation.

A: Like how?

B: We can have a system like France, where the elections are held in two rounds. All candidates stand for the election in the first round and then the two with the highest votes contest against each other in the second round. This way you can ensure that the candidates don’t please or offend any particular vote bank for their gains, because eventually the same people are going to vote for him or his opponent in the next round.

A: Won’t that create a monopoly of parties at the centre? Will everyone’s opinion count?

B: We can also learn from the way the German parliament functions. Only a portion of the seats are filled by elected representatives. The rest are occupied by members from all parties, the number is proportionate to the number of seats the party has in its national tally. This way everyone gets a voice in the parliament but only the elected members can vote in a motion of no confidence. This way you have greater stability and better representation both.

A: Ok that’s a good idea but doubt it will ever happen in India. Any how, I am going to go home and research about candidates from these independent political parties you mentioned.

B: Yes do that. And please cast your vote for the one you choose. Make some noise!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2009 10:21 am

    🙂 I turn 18 only in July,will be voting in the next elections(what ever that is for) 😀

  2. April 6, 2009 5:49 pm

    Apparently, Varun Gandhi graduating from School of Landon was a fake.

    Whoever the author is (no name mentioned) – Thanks for clearing some of my major doubts. I’m going to vote this time. This is my first time.

    One of the most popular questions I’ve come across (and thought for myself) is HOW DO WE KNOW WHOM TO VOTE FOR?? How do we make our choice?

  3. April 6, 2009 9:58 pm

    @Vishesh
    Yeah I hope you don’t vote for the parliamentary elections anytime before 5 years then.

    @Priya
    Corrected. Thanks.I can’t believe he lied about that too. LSE gave a statement in this regard which I just read!!

    How can you vote this time? You got to be 18 as on January 1st, 2009. That’s what the eligibility criteria is for voting. But find out..I may have got my facts wrong.

    AGNI has the “Meet your candidate” campaign in each constituency in major metros. You may want to go for that. There are a few sites too. One was particularly good but I can’t find it in my history right now. I will leave the name once I do. Try http://www.google.co.in/intl/en/landing/loksabha2009/ for starters.

  4. April 8, 2009 11:05 am

    Agree with most of your post except the “Jyotirao scindia, Sachin Pilot” part- They haven’t shown themselves to be particularly liberal or progressive except bear a family name and be educated in foreign universities. However, whether the education claim is genuine is also up for debate considering hte cases of two Gandhis – Varun and Rahul – who both spectacularly embellished their meagre qualifications.

    There are a bunch of good independent candidates – like Meera Sanyal from South Mumbai etc, even though most of them will lose the elections, by voting for them we will signal that we are looking for good governance and integrity.

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