(The second of a two-parter on the Indian General Elections 2014)
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Tick-tock, tick-tock, voting time is just round the block. Now, we’ve pretty much established that I will not be voting in this one. But you probably are. You’ve read the editorials, you’ve heard the speeches, you’ve thought about the differences, and you’ve made up your mind.
Well boo you. And let’s just see if I can’t convince you not to vote for –
- The Congress: Because the ‘sovereign’ bit of the Preamble to the Constitution does not refer to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Because choosing them after the shame that was UPA-II will mean condoning all the scams and telling them lo ji, zara aur maaro hamaari. Because of the 1984 riots. Because of the ’92-’93 Bombay riots. Because of the 2008 Bombay attack. Because of the ’12 Assam riots. Because of AFSPA. Because of its cluelessness in terms of foreign policy. Because of its shortsightedness in terms of business policy. Because after all the furore about them being out of touch with the common people, they think deriding an opponent for once having sold tea will win them votes.
- The BJP: Because the subsumation of an entire party by one man is just asking for autocracy. Because a ‘strong leader’ means one like Mubarak, and Erdogan, and Assad, and Putin, and the Kims. Because of Babri Masjid. Because of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Because of the 2008 Odisha riots. Because unless you’re the Ram-rajya sort of mainstream Hindu, you’re going to suffer. Because you think it’s ok for people to be gay. Because you think it’s ok to eat meat. Because you really, really don’t want a war with our neighbouring countries just to prove some arcane point of machismo. And because the thought of how much more rabid and intolerant the Modi-bhakts will be if he does get the top prize should make any sane person shiver awake all night long.
- The Aam Aadmi Party: Because the subsumation of an entire party by one man and his cabal is just asking for autocracy. Because a one-point agenda means a one-point focus, to the detriment of all else. Because if they want to be anarchists, trying to get into government makes them hypocritical and illogical. Because the fact that somebody went to IIT doesn’t mean they get to dismiss you with smug, holier-than-thou-ness. Because decisions by a ‘majority of the community’ means sacrificing any alternate views and lifestyle choices at the altar of repressive middle-class conservativeness. Because you should watch Kejriwal’s eyes when he says ‘Ab mazaa chakhaayenge‘. And because you really, really should know better by now that to believe somebody just because they cry ‘Change’.
- The Communist parties: Because of all the interminable decades they ruled in West Bengal. And because take a bloody look at Russia, China, and North Korea. And because they don’t bloody well own the bloody franchise on bloody kolchor.
- The various regional parties: Because of the way they have extracted their pounds and dollars and rupees of flesh from their coalition partners. Because if you believe in the concept of the union of states that is India, you cannot be encouraging those who discriminate against those not like them. Because if you truly want ‘jobs for our own’ and want ‘the outsiders’ to return to their homeland, you shouldn’t ever accept a job outside your state or travel in such an unfettered manner or buy products brought from elsewhere – and you might as well agitate to turn your state into a separate country.
Which leaves you with two options –
- Independents: An acceptable choice – IF they’re not former members of any of the above parties, and are standing on their own simply because they’re miffed they were not offered a ticket. And if you get a chance to actually meet them or talk to them and confirm if their policies (if they have any) make sense. And if you truly believe they will not later simply hitch up to the winning side in order to win some goodies.
- None Of The Above (NOTA): Quite pointless in its current avatar as it will not affect the results, which means even if 95% of all those voting select it, as long as a candidate gets even one vote, they can be elected. But sufficiently high numbers opting for this may help to build a case for it being counted in the future.
And there you have it. Nearly all bad choices, one hopeful one, and one ineffectual one.
In summary – Lota le ke vote do. Because whatever you choose, we’re all going to be facing the shits.