By: Lalit Garg
As the assembly elections in five states are coming closer, election excitement and aggression are increasing. There is complete aggression regarding the selection of candidates, winning the elections and forming the government, but there is deep silence on issues of public interest. The biggest irony being seen in these elections, like every time in the past, is that these elections are issue-less and the situations of defection have come to the fore. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana, the key to the fate of political parties and leaders is now in the hands of voters. Like every other time, in these elections also, attempts to woo the voters on the basis of cattiest passion, and communal fanaticism are weakening the roots of democracy. Elections are the times to meet citizen groups, listen to their problems and be ready to solve them. Political parties should get complete information about the basic problems of their people, and then present a roadmap to solve them, and thereby seek votes from the public. If seen, this is the real concept of democracy. However, in the current times, money power and muscle power are dominating the elections, politics was once a means of service, but today it is becoming a business and means to loot the nation, this is a matter of concern and the roots of democracy are weakening due to such nefarious practices.
This is the first ever election in the immortal era of Independence, elections are the basis of the democratic system. Public welfare schemes are discussed in these times. Political parties started the practice of presenting public welfare policies to the public on the occasion of elections in form of manifesto. There are different circumstances of every election; hence new manifestos are also presented every time. But the irony is that after the manifestos and the formation of the government of the victorious party, there is a lot of difference in its policies and plans. Therefore, voters should vote consciously so that the promises made to them are fulfilled as much as possible. In the elections in these five states, the voter will have to play a dual role – that of the owner of the house and also that of the guard of the house. As an owner, it will be his duty to check those who are called contractors of public interest. And as the guard of the house, it is his duty not only to stay awake, but also to be constantly alert. This awareness and caution is required to weigh the words and actions of those who want to come to power on the scales of conscience. Since he has the most to lose and the most to gain, the biggest responsibility also rests on him. Voters should also fulfill this responsibility at the individual level – by asking himself as to what will be the basis of his voting. The first decision the voter will have to make is that he has to vote. Then it has to be decided that he will not vote in favour of the ‘wrong’ candidate and party. When every voter uses his vote very thoughtfully, democracy becomes stronger and only then strong India can be built.
Strengthening and developing the nation in a holistic manner and supplying the basic needs of the growing population are the basic responsibilities of the elected governments in any democracy. These elected governments are not the masters of the people, but are their servants, because the public entrusts them with the responsibility of running the country’s system and shaping the country’s development plans only for five years. During this period, elected governments try to fulfill their responsibilities towards the public by implementing their public welfare policies. There is never any dearth of options in the multi-political system of democracy; this is also the beauty and originality of this system. Due to this, we have seen governments of different political parties from the Center to different states. Every political party has its own basic principles under which they claim to take public welfare measures, if they come to power. One such public welfare step was to give every person in India the right to eat food both times. Even though this step was taken by Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Congress government, its effective implementation was done by the Modi government in 2020 during the Corona period. Then arrangements were made to provide a five kg free ration every month to about 80 crore people. Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to continue this scheme for five more years. This means that making public welfare policies is the primary responsibility of every government. The Modi government has implemented many such public welfare schemes. Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and Shivraj Singh government in Madhya Pradesh have also started many such public welfare schemes seeing the elections approaching, which we can call more as freebies, than public welfare.
To make voters aware, Anuvrat Vishwa Bharti and Indian Voters Organization have been running voters’ awareness campaigns. The purpose of which is to force the voters to think over how to get criminals out of our system? How do the corrupt people who play with the nation’s wealth become our role models? Why do we vote for corrupt people, opportunists and criminals? But for how long will we continue to accept this situation silently? How long will we continue to be deceived? How long will we continue to be silent spectators and watch the nation being looted? Change can come in society only through the combined improvement of the individuals and the system. Unless the hands that operate the system are pure, even changing the system will be inadequate. To strengthen democracy, selection of qualified candidates is necessary. Just as criteria are necessary in various examinations, in the same way the criteria of qualification should be fixed in politics also. Vote for the one who is honest, free from corruption, away from cattiest passion and communal fanaticism and who believes in national unity, human values and social harmony. Just as a person thinks while giving his daughter’s hand, similarly while voting, one should think earnestly before casting his/her vote.
Political parties are busy preparing for the elections in their own way. There was no talk of alliances, strategies for alliances started being prepared. Defection is taking place in the season. Various political parties have started manipulating to settle the equations. There is a tussle among some national parties, while for some regional political parties; these elections remain a question of prestige. Voters also have to be aware amidst these situations. In the coming elections, voters should present their role in such a strong form that political parties cannot dare to ignore it after the elections. This is the biggest expectation and a powerful message of the present that political parties should be above even the efforts to woo the voters and mislead them. This system of king and people, ruler and ruled has always been there and will always be there. Methods keep changing. Earlier the king was born from the queen’s womb and now he is born from the ‘ballot box’. That is why elections are the most important part of democracy. It is a reflection of the national character. To maintain healthy values in democracy, healthy elections and active participation of the common voter in it is essential. Voters will have to wake up in view of the rotting political system.