At the wake of the elections scheduled to be held during May, with political parties pouring money for campaigns, negotiating alliances, wooing voters with TV sets and cash, scheduling rural visits, making their on-screen presence more evident, arguing, debating and getting all religiously spiritual, it all finally comes down to this – a vote!
I have a voter’s id and I’m eligible to cast a vote; however, I have never exercised that right. I somehow never felt the urge. Its not the voting lines, or the summer heat that bothers me. The problem is simple, I do not know whom to vote for. I have tried many a times to come in terms with the political news; but it just keeps getting all the more confusing! By the time I come to understand how two parties differentiate themselves based on their ideas, the next thing I know is they have either joined to become one, or they have further split to four! I simply dont understand, how all of a sudden, one can team with his opponent who shares totally opposite views or how two people with the same strong views can disagree for the rest of their lives! Well obviously, Power is the underlying keyword, but as a voter, what is in it for me?
I was fortunate enough to be in the US during the Obama elections period. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that the process would absorb me so much into it. I have not paid attention to a single Election event in India. But I spent hours watching political debates between the Democrats and the Republicans, reading party information on the Internet, keeping track of Senate seats, subscribing to campaign websites and praying for swing states to swing to a certain side ! I couldnt vote, I had nothing to do with the American economy, I had no interest in knowing what would happen to their future, still, the fact that politics can be comprehendable for a change, pulled me close to the whole affair.
It certainly was confusing in the beginning, where Democrats, Republicans and all the associated names and ideas never made sense. But I remember the day I started showing interest to their Election process – a simple look up at the Wikipedia explanations for the Democratic and Republican Ideology. Thats it! It made life easier thereafter. There were clear differences. I knew what each party stood for, what core values each of their partymen gaurded and believed in and what stand they are expected to take in some of the most relevant issues, everyone knew!
A political party’s foundation is based on its Ideology – what it believes in. Partymen must be proud of this and should realise that is what they stand for. I guess that kind of clarity and visibility is ideally what should help voters relate to a certain party and take a certain stance. In our country, I feel parties try to capitalise on the diversity and make divisions more evident. Sadly these divisions enforce only the faith, financial status and castes rather than values of its people. Hence, a new party sprouts everytime one finds a new way to divide the people. This makes ‘wooing the voters’ of a certain kind much easier. When will this change? When will we be ‘tough to persuade’, when we stop voting?