Some facts about Indian Democracy
About four and a half decades ago when I first voted in a general election in a booth, a few steps away from my residence, I hardly realize the purport of voting for a particular person or a party excepting that a citizen should do it as his right to franchise. I voted for the person discussed and described by many as the best one among all these in fray without considering the party’s manifesto or past performance. To my greatest chagrin, the man I voted for was declared elected.
The under-current of guilt:
I felt as if my own vote was the factor behind his victory; but it was only a toss which twisted my fingers to vote for him. Neither did I know that man prior to election, nor was he saw after it. That he was not elected in the next opportunity was another matter, but I was sub-charged with an under-current of guilt for a five year periods for casting my vote for a man without entity. Another election came; this time for the Loksabha constituency. I was resolute and determined enough not to vote for a man on his personal and speaking capacity alone, but to judge him in the light of the party he belongs to.
I had to scrutinize the historical performance of all parties vis-à-vis the manifestos they circulated and the current manifesto they were circulating and promising to perform. All my analyses ended in concentrating on a particular person of a distinct party whom I voted with a lot of hopes. However, to my utter dismay, the person lost the election and with it all my hopes. I have exercised my franchise for 16 times altogether in a span of the 45 years of my voting career and have seen success for 12 times and failure for the rest, but at no time did I realize a dream fulfilled or a commitment kept by the election representative.
Promising horses and elephants:
I have not seen the freedom struggle and sacrifice of the leaders. However, only heard or read. Nonetheless, the same type of people doing nothing despite assuring horses and elephants haunts me time and again with desperation and despair. I often failed to make out as to why no one matched a freedom-fighter in words and spirit. Where have these attributes gone? Why Gandhi's and Bose's are not born or made? The entire voting years of post-independence India were emotionally surcharged ones with mostly freedom fighters and learned men getting into the Assemblies and the Parliament and no distrust and hiccups existed.
The elections saw the dictatorship of the proletariats. In other words, the people who ruled us were at the receiving end under the British rule and sudden gain of power, prestige and property drove them away from the people. A separate ruling class was in the making for the line of the kings and emperors of the past. Nobody at the initial stage thought of the way the administration was having.
Between then and now:
Much water has been flown between then and now. Humble freedom fighter’s son r wife is now a veteran leader under a security system where even Gods ‘fear to trend’. Almost all politicians are established businessmen and land-lord. It is impossible for us to speak to them unless election propaganda is going on. India boasts of being the biggest democratic country of 120 core people. Democracy is ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’. India has also seen an election after election and voting by its citizens.
But, while large scale rigging characterized many elections prior to the introduction of ‘Electronic Voting Machines’ (EVM) in the past, introduction of EVMs have not stabilized the free and fair election process in the present as it is alleged that some software loaded in the EVMs have made the voting process defective and tentative. It is now suggested that EVMs should be supported by manual paper voting like the United States which will make the system fault-free and robust. A case of this effect is pending with the Honorable Supreme Court of India and judgment is eagerly awaited.
Numerous electoral reforms are in the offing. It requires all political parties to rise above party lines and vested interest to see that a perfect and robust system in the place. The present indications and actions of political parties in a few cases are not encouraging. Nonetheless, civil society needs a strong and corruption-free democracy to flourish. Political parties receiving fabulous contributions from big business houses are not in the best interest of our country because the parties receiving such sums can hardly stand against those parties even for national and international interests. This judgment by our Apex Court is being negated by all political parties coming together irrespective of their differences.
Perhaps, similar is going to be the fate of the observation of the honorable court on criminals contesting and voting in the elections where every party is going to suffer. Similarly, a number of measures by the Election Commission of India and the Civil Society are pending for consideration, but only God inclined the perfect democratic set up will be in place.
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