A negative vote

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.


3 comments on “A negative vote

  1. MW, do you have the link for the Shobhaa-Jayanthi debate? Also am confused, in some places people are saying it was on IBN.Thanks

  2. About the debate… Seriously? I agree to an extent that what Shobha had to say was logical, but the same goes with what Ms. Natarajan had to say. With the largest peninsula in the world to be guarded, it is difficult to get “Actionable Intelligence”. Her assertion is right in its own way. The issue is with the intelligence agencies to provide actionable intelligence. They shoould not be issuing hundreds of “Nostradamus” predictions that are useless. The fault is with intelligence apparatus and not the Government. If you had read the news lately, you would have seen that the Coast Guard actually intercepted the Kuber. So were the politicians at fault that the Coast Guard didn’t do its job??

    If the so-called intelligence reports are not in a digestable format, this is what happens. So we need to quit blaming the Government for everything. It is a generally agreed upon fact that folks in the Government are duds with no military background other than the briefings that they get. We need to understand that hundreds of such intelligence reports are provided everyday, from across the world, but what do they mean? I can argue that the government did indeed act upon previous intelligence and provide Taj the security it had until it was downgraded. The threat was always there. Seriously, if terrorists can get into the country, even if you say the parliament or the rashtrapathi bhavan is to be attacked, nothing can be done except provide one battalion to every installation that has a threat, to counter it. I see more emotion than rationality here. I am not even getting to the negative voting idea. I don’t want to be rude, but at least in the form that you have provided, it is riddled with problems. The only objective of the idea is to make presence felt. I mean, seriously, are we trying to find resolutions or make it about self. The I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-it really makes it a joke.

    – Jay, Charlotte, NC

    PS: My comments are merely to have a debate.

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