• Feed RSS
The word democracy conjures up visions of a government run by representatives who enjoy the support of the majority. Lets have a look at the situation in India. The voter turnout in most elections is close to the 60% mark. And even these votes are distributed among a large number of parties. The result is a surprisingly low percentage of votes for the person who is eventually elected. How low exactly? Here is the shocker:

99 per cent of members of legislatures have got in with a minority vote, 60 per cent of them with a minority of less than 30 per cent.
-Arun Shourie in The Parliamentary System.

30% of the votes out of 60% that voted constitutes a majority? I don't think so.

Is there a way out? As long as we allow our votes to be divided among parties which have nothing to separate them except their casteist or communalist affiliations, it is highly improbable. While we can't take away people's freedom to form political parties or their right to vote for people that they want to, the situation is not hopeless.

One of the best things that we can do would be to make voting compulsory.Why? The advantages are twofold:
  • 40% of the populace can skew the results to a very large extent. Compulsory voting will ensure that we get a more accurate view about what the public's opinion really is.
  • Moreover i believe that this will help reduce casteism and communalism in politics. How? Consider the Yadav who wants somebody from his caste to rule the state: He will go out and make sure that he votes for that person, the RSS fanatic will make sure that he votes for Shiv Sena, similarly the disillusioned Dalit will probably go out and vote for the BSP; it is the person who has no such explicit desires who is least likely to take the trouble to vote. This particular voter is also most likely to vote on economic issues because as we have seen earlier he has no other ulterior motives.
Now to the all important question. Why do we need to make voting compulsory? Why do we need to force people to do some thing that's for their own good? I suspect that the answer to this question for a very large number of people would be disillusionment with the political process. They believe that every single politician is a lout and is not worthy of being elected. Which brings us to the even more important question: Why don't we have the choice to express that during the elections? Why can't we vote for nobody? It's high time that the negative vote was an option, ideally with an accompanying legislation to the effect that if the majority votes negative then that particular constituency should have elections again.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. If i find them good enough then chances are that I will incorporate them in my post.


Post a Comment