“All saint without, all devil within.” -precisely explains the scenario during elections, which essentially is fairly significant. The election, in the Indian context, often turns out to be a fiesta that sees a huge amount of money flowing in and around, lies and dishonesty floating in the air while true and honest gestures are time and again hid somewhere in the middle of begging for votes and casting of votes.
For common people, elections have become more like any other usual phenomenon that happens once in every 5 years than to showcase their right and clout in a democracy. Though the phase of the election has changed over time, the motto remains the same and so does the attitude towards it. Election votes are majorly being driven by caste and religion-based politics in the country and have become nearly impossible in the present day Indian politics or we can rather say “politricks.”
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When democracy hits the polls, though many seek a change in leadership, the increasing number of population staying away from the poll booths are a matter of great concern. Let’s have a look at the five utmost reasons of why the extent of missing inks increases every election.
1. ‘I DON’T DEPEND ON THE GOVERNMENT’
Partaking in an election is majorly fuelled by the reliance of people on the government. The number of voters that turn out from rural areas and slums is higher, compared to the urban residence, as they are dependent on the government and governmental policies for meeting their needs. The dependence rate of the urban middle and upper class on the state has decreased rapidly as they have gained the capacity to get what they need with their own influence, background or money. Thus this sector of society stays away from the ballot booths, for instance, feeling that their votes neither gives them incentives nor does it bring about any differences in their lifestyle.
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2. ‘I DON’T LIVE AT MY PLACE ANYMORE’
As a result of the migration of an ample chunk across places in search of a carrier and better lifestyle, the number of people staying away from their own constituency has witnessed a sizeable increase. These migrants heed no attention in identifying local politics and hence decide on staying away from the whole process of election. The elections are time and again scheduled on weekends, which people use as a chance to enjoy the long weekend rather than an opportunity to cast their ballot.
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3. ‘APATHETIC CANDIDATES’
The people belonging to the middle class and younger generation find it very difficult relating to the so-called leaders, who is either a feudal lord living in the city or someone with a criminal background, or a celebrity with least knowledge of politics or even a generous blend of all the three. They often are ignorant towards the third party thinking that their vote wouldn’t make the third party candidate win.
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4. ‘SEE, I AM PROTESTING’
Some people stay away from the ballot booths pretending to be protesting against the prevailing filthy politics. Unfortunately, this method cannot be viewed as a positive protest, instead is just an excuse used as a facade to hide indifference and legitimize non-participation. These people who tend to accuse politicians of being corrupt and unfit often wouldn’t even know the names of the candidates contesting in their constituency.
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5. ‘DIGITIZATION AND ELECTIONS’
The promotional activities and advertisements by the Election Commission to make voting ‘cool’ by people and celebrities proudly showing the inked finger haven’t really helped. The cynicism and non-dependence can’t be broken through media. On top of it, political parties have begun to promote themselves through advertisements making the case even worse. People now know only of those parties and candidates presented by the media and are kept in dark of the other options they have to choose from.
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WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?
VOTE! Vote wisely. Going and supporting anti-corruption movement is inane lest you carry out your primary sense of duty as a citizen and cast your vote. It is one of the most decisive forms of cowardice to let people other than you elect to epitomize you and then going on strikes against the policies of the ruling elite.
The people who ask for the introduction of a system which allows for ‘recall’ of elected representatives are also the ones who could not find time to vote in an election. If you haven’t voted, what moral or for that matter, legal right, do you have to ask for a recall? Voting in urban centers has declined steeply and, eventually, the winner is elected by the choice of approximately less than half of the people in the constituency. The election could turn in effect if a change in the voting system could be brought in, which offers people an option to choose their constituency from any constituency, to vote. After all, the government should always be “OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE.”2