Saturday, 9 May 2009

Declining Voters. Where is Election Comission?

Recent ad campaign for Voting in India , has been anything but effective. Voter turnout percentages have been in declivity and more so in the urban metropolis, the prime target of the campaign. More than that of the apathy of Indian middle class it marks a lack of trust in any political outfit and ideology. Indian voting ensues a choice to be made of bad among worse , isn't that as good as not-voting. At least the disillusioned middle class thinks so.

The failure of the entire ad campaign could be traced down to this very core issue of people's indifference towards the elected. Had the campaign enthused voters to come ahead and vote against those compromising candidates the result could have had been somewhat different. Instead of asking people to vote , ask them to get the unwanted voted out. Although its a negative approach to pursue, I am certain that it would send a strong message into the political circles , who have so grossly undermined the authority of political leadership .

However, an ad-campaign has its limitations. I still doubt , it would have raked up the numbers on poll days. As Malcom Gladwell has pointed pointed out in his book , that an advertisement has to have content that would relate to people, something that they would understand. And this political mumble jumble , ostensibly simplified by catchy phrases, such as ,"vote for change" is more likely to fizzle out.

Having said all of this, democracy cannot mature unless people vote, and towards this there ought to be a mass awareness and ownership. As a first step it is necessary get the folks into the fray and participate in elections. Election commission, which has so far done a very commendable job this year could take cue from its recent success and take a step further towards deciphering ways to increase the poll percentages. Election commission is entrusted with the responsibility to conduct free and fair elections . It is certainly not fair on part of the Election Commission to shirk this challenge , which would further add credibility to the institution.
What are the possible ways? That is something which needs to be found, discussed, debated, documented and analyzed. As Kiran Bedi has doled out one of the ways , "scrap the poll day as holiday and see the improvement". I do not completely endorse the idea , but let the people in charge discuss it, debate it and then come up with new ideas to ensure that the elections which they have made free is , actually "fair" in a wider term.

No comments: