I don’t think our politicians get it.
A debate on NDTV last evening led to a showdown of sorts between Shobhaa De and Jayanti Natarajan, Spokesperson of the Congress. Shobhaa continued to express her thoughts on Mumbai. Jayanti was understandably defensive, the constant blame being placed at the politicians doorstep starting to get to her.
In the end, Shobhaa ended up looking like the mature person while Jayanti lost her temper, was furious at Shobhaa’s inclusion of Sonia Gandhi in the list of uncaring politicians and finally degenerated into making statements like “If Shobhaa has better suggestions then why doesn’t she run for elections and become the CM?”
This is the defence our politicians resort to when asked simple questions. Questions that are on everybody’s lips : Why wasn’t the intelligence received acted upon? (Jayanti’s reply: Has Shobhaa heard about ‘actionable intelligence’? Not everything can be acted upon.)
Not even an indication that the Taj will be a target for terrorism, or that the terrorists will come by sea? How much more specific do you want them to get? Shobhaa was right in asking whether the CM was waiting for a phone call from the terrorists informing him when and where they were going to strike!
The frustration we feel is naturally targeted at our netas. We meekly elect them every time, hopeful that this time they will be different. They don’t deliver. And what do we do? Elect them again.
I don’t have an answer to this, except to propose the concept of a negative vote, a vote that is not in favour of any candidate, yet is valid and taken into account.
Our Indian electoral system presently has no provision for indicating that the voter does not find any of the candidates suitable to represent him in Parliament. We are forced to vote for someone – no matter how incompetent.
If you don’t clearly choose one candidate, your vote is invalid. That’s millions of votes lost because we don’t have enough options.
How many times have you walked out of a polling booth, angry and frustrated because even the Independents are thugs in waiting? But you have to make your presence felt, otherwise, someone else will cast a vote in your name.
A negative vote will solve that problem. If I don’t feel that any of the candidates are worthy, I will make my stand clear. I will not be forced to vote for the ‘lesser evil’ as most of us tend to do. The vote will count. The majority vote will still count. If the constituency registers a majority negative vote, an alternative will have to be found – I don’t know what. At least the same thugs will not come into power over and over and over again (or take turns).
The more I think of it, the better the idea sounds. Any takers? Perhaps I should start a campaign and get the CEC to listen.