Skip to main content

Allurement to voters: Indian system "isn't yet offering" a genuine electoral process

By Sheshu Babu*
As the election schedule has started, debates on victories and losses of political parties has picked up momentum. Among the factors which are responsible for the outcome, the role of various lucrative offers to people is a topic of intense analysis by media and elite intellectuals.
It is an open secret that huge amount of cash and liquor is distributed specially to the poor masses in villages and towns. Mainstream media and newspapers occasionally report politicians distributing cash and bottles and some of these seized by police.
A nationwide survey involving more than 2.7 lakh people revealed that for 41.34% of respondents, distribution of cash, liquor and freebies was an important factor behind voting a particular candidate in an election according to Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Though 97.86% interviewees felt that candidates with criminal background should not be in Parliament or State Assembly, 35.89% were willing to vote for a candidate with criminal records if the candidate had done good work in the past. The survey has indicated that better job opportunities and healthcare remain among top priorities of voters.
Despite many people against unethical deed of politicians, almost every election season sees large - scale distribution of money and material. Why?
One explanation may be that the targeted people are mostly marginalized sections of society especially Dalits, Adivasis or minorities who live in poverty throughout their lives and when they are offered such things of temporary comfort, they try to accept so that they may have at least 'royal' life for some time.
Temporary sentiment plays a vital role in decisions. The masses do not generally think of long- term effects of voting. They are mainly concerned with their day-to-day life and ways to earn their bread to satisfy hunger of their families.
Factors like age, social class and gender also determine voting pattern. According to market research firm Ipsos-MORI (UK) , voters in social classes D/E are more likely to vote Labour, e.g., in 2017 general elections, 47% of D/E classes chose Labour.
Voters in social classes A/B chose Conservatives. One reason is the historic difference in policies. Similarly, in India, partes like BSP have more voters of dalit sections whereas BJp draws support by wooing upper castes.
Another reason influencing voters relates to region-specific problems. The rise of TRS in Telengana or Asom Gana Parishad in Assam is an example of peoples' aspirations in particular regions. Also, the quality of leadership influences many voters. Reasons may include communicative capability, connection with grass-root people and confidence on leaders.

Problem with system

It is easy to blame poor people for casting vote on the basis of appeasement. But root cause should be analysed. Major problem is with the system which thrives on corruption and influencing poverty-stricken masses by distributing sops and alluring them with abnormal dreams of future.
As long as money and physical material play crucial role in the daily lives of poor, leaders have fair chances of intimidating and duping them and coming to power through devious means. That is why, even though a party or a coalition wins an election, protests, dissent and agitations continue to rock the nation as scores of people come out against anti-people policies.
The present system reflects will of the people only to some extent. There are many people who do not vote or vote NOTA expressing their dissatisfaction with parties and leaders. Every ruling party claims that it has won through thumping majority but in reality, it has only about one-third of votes in favour.
Hence rather than casting aspersions on the poor for the state of polity, an alternative effective and efficient system must be developed which reflects true picture of peoples' will and eliminates corrupt practices including cash, liquor, sops or freebies distribution to garner votes.
This system has not entirely succeeded in genuine electoral process. The on-going imbroglio on EVMs is an illustration of possible manipulations of presenting majority in favour of particular parties or groups .
A better system is essential for clean and corruption - free governance and where masses are not influenced by temporary sops and freebies suffering long - term losses electing dictatorial and fascist rulers who give scant respect to their electorate and their aspirations
---
*The writer from anywhere and every where supports governments with accountability to masses

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.