When I went to vote for the Delhi State Assembly elections in 2008, I had a crazy thought while I was waiting in line to vote. On each door of the various rooms at the polling booth, there was a list of candidates contesting the elections. I think the list had at least 10 names on it. The thought that came to mind was “Why don’t I vote for anyone of these unknown candidates who are contesting as independents or who are representing unknown political parties?” Lets call them the “non-traditional politician.” I was fed up with what I and most of us were doing - electing Congress and BJP alternatively at the centre or Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati in UP and so on in other states as well. All the political parties know this and are reconciled to the fact that whether they show results or not, they will keep switching power amongst themselves every 4 or 8 years.
At that time, I didn’t have enough time to think about this idea so I took the traditional route. I voted for BJP even though I have been a Congress voter all along. I was trying to rebel. Later I realized that such an act will not do anything for me. I had to vote for the non-traditional politician. However, the more I thought about it, more and more the above idea sounds interesting, logical and something that could change our political system. Let us look at the merits and demerits of this idea. The idea has the following merits:
(a) If we are able to elect some non-traditional people, it will give a shock to the present political establishment. Such an act will announce the arrival of competition. Hopefully, some of current political parties and politicians will change for the better.
(b) Some of the non-traditional people we elect would be honest and work for the good of the country and its citizens. I think they will try to do things differently. Hopefully, the country and the citizens of this country will benefit.
(c) I have a feeling that quite a few of the people who contest elections with no hope of winning are actually honest and idealistic. My reasons for reaching this conclusion are simple. Why would anyone contest an election which he knows he is going to lose? Why would these people want to even forfeit their deposit? I think the reason behind such an act would be that the person in question is fed up, like you and me, with the present group of politicians. In fact, isnít this the very reason that I have decided to contest elections knowing fully well that the probability of my winning the elections at this point are remote?
(d) Even if we remove one traditional politician, I think we would be taking a step forward because we would be eliminating one source of corruption and politics-criminal nexus.
(e) Also, even if the non-traditional politician whom we vote for does not win, I think there will still be a positive effects on our political system. The votes that the non-traditional politician will get will result in reduction of the total number of votes that the traditional politicians will get. Their percent share of votes will decline. I am hoping that the decline both in absolute numbers of votes and as a percentage of the total will give a message to the traditional politicians that they need to mend their ways.
Well, we see a lot of merits but what about the demerits of voting for the non-traditional politician. The only disadvantage I see of pursuing this strategy is that it could end up in no party getting a clear majority and the formation of a weak coalition government at the centre. But this is already happening. For the last so many years, we have had a coalition government at the centre and in most of the states. I feel that it canít get worse than what it is today. Recently, CPI wanted to pull down the government and withdrew support. However, Samajwadi Party moved in and saved the Congress led government at the centre. The Lok Sabha Election of 2009 have become a political circus with each of the parties trying to install their leader as the Prime Minister.
I think all of us should seriously start thinking about this issue and see if we can implement it in the fast approaching Lok Sabha Election 2009 itself. Lets elect as many non-traditional politicians as Members of Parliament (MPs) as we can in the 2009 elections. I have more or less decided to vote for the non-traditional politician or person on the ballot paper. I am not going to vote for any current politician or known political party including BJP and Congress. I think we need to give a shock treatment to the current power hungry politicians.
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