This is the second time I exercised my right to vote, my first going to the BJP.
My last vote was based on a naïve comprehension of politics at the time and I had convinced myself that I had picked the lesser of two evils. The candidates in my constituencies in Bangalore seemed awfully similar both terms, there was very little to pick from to begin with. But the candidates don’t run the country, a party does and so does the ideology the party propagates, one which ideally would be rigid and complex. But ideologies are flailing now, moving around and swerving like a crimson wine in a long stemmed glass, breathing for air to better reveal itself.
I looked carefully at the parties and their current state and I was worried at what was on offer.
We have one party that ruled our country into the ground in just ten years with a young leader begging for a chance at redemption on their behalf (hiding an ex-PM that is camera shy and rightfully so), but how do we give our country to him? He does not even look close to being ready.
The other, an ever faithful watchdog ready to take over each time the mighty Congress comes to its knees, always assuring us of their loyalty and competence to be capable of doing a better job. But things are different this time, can’t you sense it? It’s a wave, swept into the country by a very resourceful P.R firm from the states with a history of handling extreme situations and neutralizing them. They have flooded the media with one name, MODI. It’s all it takes to win an election of such magnitude, good or bad, everyone knows him, there is no doubt about it and that’s all they ever wanted. His murky past might betray him though, the pre-polls could well turn out to be exaggerations yet again. Will the country forgive him for his alleged involvements in, if not instigating, but at least mishandling of a communal riot that is still very fresh in our memories? The nation waits with a bated breath.
This year we also have a wild card entry, a young party that shocked the world at the start of this year by taking Delhi, but disappointed by throwing all the good work away by resigning within the blink of an eye. Delhi was dropped, now they look to India, claiming they can handle the country even though they completely muddled their shot at the capital. Good luck AAP.
The others can do very little damage on their own so it will come down to these giants come counting day. The alliances are firmly in place but the NDA looks more confident than ever before.
Except wait, there was something else this year, right at the bottom of the second column of the voting machine.
It was NOTA, the trump card thrown in for all us freedom lovers out there, just to remind us that we still have some power. For the first time in the history of the largest democracy in the world, its voters had the power to do something they could never do before. We could turn our backs on our candidates and remind them that we don’t have to compromise any longer. With parties still allowing candidates with criminal backgrounds to contest, an act which is so senseless and insensitive on its own, this option is a much needed reprieve in some parts of the country.
The NOTA does have some fine details that are unsettling. The votes we cast by using it are considered negative votes instead of a direct rejection of candidates. Therefore we are only making the election pool smaller but not taking away power from their hands directly. Still, the numbers will show by the end of this season, even if there are only a thousand or a hundred NOTA votes cast, that people are unhappy. They expect better from their candidates and they would rather not vote for any of the evils than pick one and support their delusion of power and control.
It also gives those who are ill informed to make a choice during elections to cast a vote which can be least damaging. The problem which is hidden under the rug is that a majority of the people are still unsure about the true reason for selecting a party. It is usually instinctual, sometimes influenced by the people around you but very rarely is it factual. The fact is, there are very few concrete reasons to undeniably prove that one party is better than the other so you cannot really blame the voters for the confusion. In this case, if you are unsure about your reasons and you can be truthful to yourself about it, then vote NOTA.
At least you won’t be casting an empty vote.
An empty vote, I think is one which does not have any real basis or foundation. You should pick a party and vote for them only if you truly believe in the deepest bowels of your soul that this party can make a difference in our country. If you do, by all means, cast your vote for the part you feel so strongly for, but if you don’t, then the NOTA serves the country better.
Politics, we can all agree is a thankless job. It must be hard for so many politicians to turn their back on the money and power to simply concentrate on getting the job done. The vices can overpower even the strongest willed and it has clearly done so in the past. I however am optimistic that this country is capable of producing politicians that can break the precedent set and think of the people instead of themselves.
But if you ask me which party deserves to take the center this term, I would have to say, NOTA.