Ok shoot me, but if there’s something that bores me more than watching cricket on TV then it’s following politics and the power game. It’s not that I’m completely ignorant about the current political scenario in our country. Thanks to my husband whose primary interests in life are cricket and politics (the 2 things that I really hate, so you know our compatibility ratio), I have a fair understanding of which political party is up surging the others in the elections. But given a choice, I would, without a doubt, tune in to catch a rerun of ‘Friends’ or ‘The Big Bang Theory’ instead of watching the mind numbing debates and mudslinging between the political parties.
After a gap of 3-4 years I voted during the local elections last year and that’s because my husband literally forced me to cast my vote. I know you are shooting ‘You-should-be-ashamed-of-yourself’ glances at my direction but I had lost confidence in our political system. What I sincerely felt is that irrespective of which party comes to power, it wouldn’t change the situation for an ‘aam aadmi’. It does sound clichéd, but that’s what happens, no? Politicians promise the sun and moon before elections and once they come to power they’ll conveniently suffer from short term memory loss. Yes, the same malaise that Aamir Khan suffered in Ghajini, but with a difference that our politicians suffer from well controlled dissociative disorder.
When I cast my vote in the last assembly elections for our ward, I knew about some of the people who were contesting. One was an independent candidate who was also an engineer. I was impressed by the fact that a graduate who was working in a reputed IT company was contesting and I had my hopes pinned on him. I voted for him obviously, but a BJP candidate, Satish Reddy (who was winning consistently in the last few years), became the MLA. A few months later I realized that our local MLA was not bad (for a change!). He was on top of things, always listened to people’s grievances and usually provided solutions in an efficient manner. In the next elections, I decided, I would definitely vote for him.
But most of the times, when people vote they are not informed about the candidates profile. We know so much about the profile of a person contesting for the PM’s chair or the president’s position but we are not aware about our own local ward MLA. I believe change needs to be initiated at the grass root level. So an app that has the full bio of the local candidates including any criminal charges, education, and previous work, if any, would be helpful when I go for voting.
A part of the reason why I was disillusioned about our political system was because I always feel that our leaders don’t hold themselves accountable. When things go awry in our parliament, all political parties raise their finger at each other, playing the blame game that they are famous for. For past several years social media apps has taken over an important role of communication and providing information in the life of a common man. So I believe that social media apps like WeChat can help in awakening and creating awareness among the youth. An app where public can interact with their politicians and bring forward their grievances or any concern would help in restoring people’s belief in the system. The focus of the app would be to hold the politician accountable for their portfolio. We do not expect great miracles from our leaders but if they cannot hold good on their promises or if they cannot ensure hassle free living for the common man, then they don’t have any right to be in their position. The message is simple- Deliver the goods or else be prepared to be kicked out. All or nothing!
Also, what I would like to see is more transparency in running the government. Why not encourage the youth to participate and voice their opinion? For example when a decision has to be made for a bill to be passed why not take public’s opinion through an e-application poll that will actually encourage the youth to participate. Encourage by engage! And maybe the app can also automatically increase the weightage of the person’s opinion in the e-poll, based on the fact if the person has voted in the last election.
I wouldn’t want to force the youth to vote by dangling a carrot in front of them or by making false promises. I would encourage the youth to vote by restoring their faith in the system, by instilling confidence in the ability of Indian politicians and by proving their skepticism wrong and unfounded.
I believe that change does not happen overnight. Change is slow and gradual and happens only when every person moves a step ahead. After I voted, I felt great, I felt awesome. I felt that I had contributed towards making a positive change. Sitting in the comfortable confines of my home and grumbling about the pathetic situation of our country and hoping for a change will not bring about betterment in the current scenario. If I need a change then I have to be part of that change, I need to instigate the change. I hereby promise to make my vote count, to exercise my right to vote in every election! Do you?