March 29, 2010

ONE MORE ELECTION - STILL MORE THE CYNICISM OF VOTER


Elections to BBMP are just over. Time has come to cry over the low percentage of polling. 2008 assembly elections, 2009 parliament elections and this time, the 2010 BBMP elections too -  Bangalore city voters have consistently shown their disinclination to come out in large numbers and stamp their verdict. This time, over 55% of the registered voters have refused to be a part of this election process. Why this apathy?

I feel, the reasons might be many like the following.

1.      The city voter might not have felt the need of a representative for him. He might just not know the role of a corporator in the City Corporation, how helpful is a corporator for him when for anything and everything; he may have a direct access for the right solutions? Without a representative, he must be confident to get the things done for him.
2.      The city voter might have only disgust for the way in which the elections are held. He might have nothing but only contempt towards the political parties and their candidates.
3.      The city voter may think that it is more useful to spend in other avocation than to go in the blistering sun, stand in the queue and cast vote in favor of someone about whom he knows nothing.
4.      Political parties too contribute to this mood by thrusting the candidates on the electorate on the last available date. These candidates about whose antecedents, nothing is known to the voter, campaign for a fortnight and beseech votes. After all, why should a voter develop confidence in a person whose name becomes familiar only through the pamphlets strewn at their doorsteps?
5.      Political parties also perceive this aspect of democracy only as an affair of 10/15 days. The party workers are seen at every door step during the election time and once it is over they are off for good.
6.      The use of money power thanks to the filthy richness of the candidates might have made the city voter still more cynical.
7.      Notorious mistakes in our “voter lists” too add up. It makes it more difficult to even those voters who are willing to vote.

Unfortunately, this criticism of city voters apathy evaporates soon. Once, the counting is done, and new set of corporators take the baton these issues are bound to fade away. Other issues crop up. Neither the election commission, nor the political parties or the media, will think of enlightening the citizens about their role as voters till next elections.

Political parties should seriously introspect this lapse.

Gujarat has made voting compulsory in the local body elections. Should Karnataka emulate this step?

Please respond.

S.Sureshkumar

11 comments:

Pradeep Pai H said...

Namaste Sureshkumarji, 7 reasons for highly disinclined voters!! Good. It is ardha-satya.

1. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class spend thousands of rupees for IPL tickets and food inside the stadium and crib about traffic jams outside the stadium?

2. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class crib while an auto rikshawala demand for an additional Five rupees but pay 200% to 300% premium and purchase movie tickets and IPL tickets in black market?

3. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class crib while taxes are hiked but when given an opportunity shy away from their responsibility to elect a good representative? See the numbers. 42 % percent voters polled in favour of 4-5 candidates in each ward. Had a fraction of 58% percent voters came out and voted for the best available candidate, it would have been a miracle.

4. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class adjust, readjust and cooperate with their undemocratic bosses, insensitive colleagues, senseless managements for years (many for life time) but do not care to come out and voice their opinion once a year?

5. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class for a increase of 1000-2000 rupees of salary very month switch their workplaces at the drop of the hat but crib while an unemployed youth votes for Rs. 500.00? (At least he is loyal to the candidate who pays him the highest. Is it true with educated professionals?)

6. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class use gallons of potable water to wash their at least 2 cars per family while fellow neighbors are deprived of a glass of pure drinking water.

7. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class, in the guise of self-expression, party hard and create nuisance while a traffic warden or a traffic police stops him for drunken-driving?

8. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class behave indecently and demonstrate their ugly wealth during marriages and other celebrations but don’t want a wealthy candidates to represent them?

9. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class treat a commoner, simple living man like dust and hurl abuses at him but want a less wealthier man to represent them?

10. Is it not true that the same educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class stand in long lines to apply for/renewal of passports, in front US embassies for visas getting humiliated for days but don’t bother to wait in a line for 15-20 minutes to vote for their own government?

The list is endless. Whatever you have mentioned in your blog, is also applicable to rural and less educated segment. Even they why they vote? It is because they are educated to vote. They understand the value of their vote but not the highly educated (highly literate) middle class, upper middle class and upper class people who understand only notes not Indian but only Dollars?

sarath said...

well said,,,,but we cannot blame the citizen for this,,my opinion is that certain poltical party which was dominating for more than 50yrs had made this,,,but as we are the party with diffrence we shold take more responsibilty and change this mindset,,,,let us start with our party,,by compulsory party education to all caders,,,we can sure see the diffrence.....

vanda mathram
sarath kuwait

Sriny said...

Namaskara Suresh,

You have very clearly explained the absent urban voter syndrome
Major problem for urban voters is that, they don’t know where there polling station is and names not found in the voters list. If these two issues are addressed I strongly think the urban voter, who has the urge to vote will definitely vote.
If we have the polling stations in the below said locations voters will know exactly where to go and vote for.
1. e-Voting through internet. When financial transactions can be done through internet voting can also be done using ID proofs.
2. Voting in Banks - Using their savings / Current account.
3. Voting in Ration Shops using their ration cards
4. Voting in BESCOM, Water Supply, using there accounts and ID proofs.
5. etc etc etc
For this to happen the election commission should have a centralized database of voter names linked to the above locations during elections.
The urban voter might not know the candidate - but will definitely know the ruling government and the opposition parties. He can choose by knowing this.
So in nutshell - Make the voting easy. Percentage will increase.

Puneeth said...

Dear Sureshji,
"NOT PARTICIPATING"in the democractic process may be a "SILENT PROTEST"by the non voters against the powerful,dynastic and corrupt politicians !!!Please speak to the non voters and understand why havent they voted,clubbing all non voters as ELITE,IRRESPONSIBLE and ANT DEMOCRATIC is a dangerous position because in BANGALORE city they are a MAJORITY!!!We also need to understand how many citizens above of the age of 18 and above have actually enrolled themselves for VOTING!!If we add these two categories we would be surprsed that the actally %age of PARTICIPATIVE democoracy in BANGALORE city!
Please dont rush to pass a bill to make VOTING compulsory ,it might actually turn the cynical CITIZEN aginst DEMOCRACY!!!This may deter the new generation turning 18 from enroling as VOTER!Evn if your governement thinks that making VOTING compulsory is a solution,then please think of reforms like allowing the voter for NEGATIVE VOTING !!
Regards
PUNEETH KUMAR

Gautam said...

Dear Mr. Suresh Kumar

First of all let me congratulate your government for the successful completion of the BBMP elections in a peaceful way. Though the voting percentage is low ( as per your estimation), I am not surprised at all. In fact, I would not be surprised if it drops further low in coming elections.

It was interesting to note, even though all the major political party's have condemned the voters apathy in their own way (mostly by blaming the voters), you hold a different view ( and rightly so). My opinion is also same as yours.

Why voters dont come in droves to vote in the elections?. (and mostly urban voters)

1. First of all, let me tell you that the urban voter (citizen) is in different league altogether compared to a rural voter. He is educated, suave, informed and mostly well heeled (compared to his rural counterpart). He is the one who keeps the country moving. ( by paying all kinds of taxes, central, state, direct, indirect etc., by buying and consuming most of the goods and services). And rightly, he expects a minimum quality in services he gets (weather private sector or public sector) without his own intervention ( which is not happening ). When he does not get it, obviously he is upset. And, only way to show his discomfort is by not voting. (Is there any other way?)

( I am a secretary of a residents Association in Bangalore. I have never seen a political worker/corporation official/BWSSB official/pourakarmika, for last six years in my layout. It is as if it my layout doesnt exist. We have our own water supply, We repair our streetlights with our own funds, We get our layout cleaned with our own money and, we pay our taxes to BBMP regularly).

2. Political parties have been distancing themselves from the citizens. I have not seen any membership drives/regular interaction meetings etc., for a long time . Political parties have diluted their ideological base for the sake of power. The voter does not know which party he has to lean to even in terms of ideology. (There is no loyal voter today)

In 1970's (I was a very young boy then), my father used to lend his car to the election campaign to the Janasangh candidate (even though janasangh hardly had any presence in the parliament). He was not a member of Janasangh though. (That was showing loyalty to the ideology, not the party itself).

3. Governments have been favoring lobbies (Mining, real estate, power etc.,). Even disregarding citizens opinions. ( We have faced many agitations by citizen groups when flyovers and Malls have been built. Example the Mantri mall at Malleswaram.) The traffic is in chaos all around. There has been a disconnect between the government and the voters.

4. There is no active participation of the youths in the political arena. Students are so much immersed in academic activities, they have no time to do anything else. ( I remember campaigning during the 1977 parliament elections. I was a student then). I am sure youths could have enthused the voters to come and vote. (What can you expect from paid campaigners)

5. People hear and see every thing today (Media effect). What can you expect from the voters if villages remain like slums even after 60 years of independence and lakhs of crores rupees have been spent. We still have not been able to provide clean water, quality power and proper roads to our citizens (basic amenities). Please understand that most of the urban voters are from rural backgrounds.



I have known you since the days you were a corporator in the BMP. I have really appreciated your honesty and integrity as a public servant. I hope you take this views seriously and work towards making Bangalore and Karnataka a prosperous place to live and let others live.

Regards

Gautam Kulkarni

Muralidhar Rao said...

Namaskaara Suresh avare'

It is good to know that at least one minister can be readily accessed by the people through the net. And, it is not surprising that he is the one with the cleanest image, because it's only such people who can generally afford to be open.

Well, Sir, as to the points made by you at 2,4,5,6, can I invite you to take a look at the debate at http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2010/03/29/dare-they-talk.

And, as for the point made at 7, take a look at http://praja.in/en/blog/murali772/2010/02/16/ec-sec-symbol-incompetence-incapacity-apathy-lack-accountability-all-put-t#comment-20981.

I'll be grateful for your comments.

And, we call our praja.in as a virtual hall for debates, and eventually hope to make it a platform for debate of the city's, in fact the state's "upper house". For more on that, do take a look at http://praja.in/en/~bangalore/blog/murali772/2009/04/07/upper-houses-cities.

We will be thrilled to have you participating in our debates.

SU.NAGARAJ said...

Dear Sureshji,
The article is timely and apt, and as predicted, this "issue" will be debated in "class media"- "breaking news"- experts for the couple of days and put on hold till next elections.Gujarath model is the only remedy - but that model is yet to be tested!! When electioneering is a Business, people have a choice to buy or reject, NO?

People are used to getting "trash" also, in return for their money.But then, that is by choice!!. So, pol.parties should sell their products - gift wrapped trash- by squeezing out the options for the voters. THEN, they grudgingly, with a frown, go out and Vote. MAY BE THAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND GUJARAT MODEL - AS AN EXPERIMENT.

KEEP THE HEAT ON......
SU.NAGARAJ.

Dr.Bharath H.S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr.Bharath H.S. said...

Sir you made a point by telling that the candidate is known only through the pamphlet. But dont you think the candidates who are known already are just because of their notorious activities like real estate maphia,etc. It does show or hint that new good candidates are far better than such criminals. No political party shall give ticket to such good individuals. So independents should be the key. I was really upset that JD(S) had given ticket to many rowdies this time. But they have given it to a vegetable vendor also. So what to say about that party? It is a real dilemma.

Narayan, USA said...

In a democracy, we have to choose a lesser evil. Unfortunately, all political parties including BJP are guilty of nominating criminals.Yet,
it is upto People to reject these criminals and people by and large have rejected criminals. Now it is upto BJP corporators to improve the living conditions of Bangalooreans.

Dr.M.C.Sindhur said...

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Good Evening Sir,
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Regards
Thanking you
Dr.M.C.Sindhur
Timmasagar Temple Mian Road
VIDYANAGAR
Ward 45, Zone 09
Hubli-21