Loksabha Election — the voter’s dilemma — whom to vote, prospective PM or local candidate?

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It’s the election time in the world’s biggest democracy, and again we are discussing among us a very contentious question. Whom should you vote? No matter what’s the personal bias is, there are always two ways to look at it. Looking at your local representative or the one who is ultimately going to be the leader. Here in, I am going to elaborate why I am in support of the later. So if you are not open for an opposing point of view, it’s safe for you to quit right here. I am here not going to try convince you, just juxtaposing the options so you can reach to a more pragmatic decision.

First of all let me make you clear that the idea I am supporting here is particular of general elections in India, so it might not conform well with other elections or elections out side India.

Have a look at our options. One, you can vote based on your local candidate, two, you can vote for the leader (or collective leadership) and a recent third, NOTA i.e. none of the above.

Lets start with the first. Selecting a clean, honest and hardworking local candidate seem to be an obvious choice. If that would have been the case, Sachin would have been the most successful odi captain of all time. But guess what, he failed miserably. Though he is among the best batsman of all time, he does not have leadership quality. Which is also evident from his stint as an elected MP.

A local candidate, ultimately has to collude with 271 others to make a prime minister. In an ideal world, as an all-independent candidates’ group as opposed to party system, they might somehow come together with a common minimum vision. Having elected every honest candidate (or at least majority of them), who will be the PM candidate? Don’t tell me there wont be at least half of those who would themselves be looking at lucrative PMs post. Let’s consider they come to consensus on this as well. That’s a win, right? But there is a catch. Did you forget what I mentioned earlier… in an ideal world?

Candidates fighting all by themselves is as impractical as any other good product in the market, say, xyz detergent powder making its way to your home on its own. Now that’s hyperbole, but well, it’s so close to reality. Every detergent powder making company has to promote itself to market so that you know the advantages of their product over other company’s product. If you are thinking about mouth publicity, this might be the time you wake up. If the company is a startup and waits for their product to kick-in only through mouth publicity, before you know it, there are higher chances of the start up having shut down. With the same thought in mind most candidates will join a party to have more visibility among the voters, that is, to increase their chances of winning. So instead of looking at candidate as an individual, it’s more realistic to look at him as a party member.

Now candidates as party members, are bound to conform to party policy, whether they like it or not, because party has spent its money, effort and time to ensure the winning of the candidate, it’s time to repay the party. That is, candidate giving up to party’s ideology.

Let’s consider, a candidate is a famous personality and socially active so that, she doesn’t need a party to ensure his or her win, thus not having to payback to the party, she will not need to compromise on her principles and irrespective of the party’s ideology, will keep working for her own constituency. For that, she needs funds. Funds will be allocated to her by PM. So before that, she needs to show her support to a PM candidate. Having more people supporting party ideology, to make consensus, she would need to go with the majority within the party. That is, candidate giving up to party’s ideology.

Again, let’s consider, it’s just decision about PM. She will still have rights to work as per her will from her MP funds. See for yourself whether local area development fund allocated to her, 5crore annually [reference] for say a constituency of about 16Lac people [reference], will be sufficient for her to bring significant improvement to her constituency. The fund usually is allocated to take care of relatively minor issues or patch works of sorts. So? To have any big project started involving center, say electricity infrastructure, national highways, nationalized educational institutes, railways, metro or any such big project, she would need to get it approved by PM. Which in turn, will depend upon the party ideology. I mean, if candidate herself is a strong leader, who contradicts with the party in general, will have lesser chances of party doing her any favors. That is, candidate giving up to party’s ideology. She sure can still have ways to get things done, but not through the PM.

Basically, the local development projects, which concerns you more in your day to day life is supposed to be jurisdiction of state government. That is why I already mentioned that I am being specific to loksabha election.

To juxtapose the extremes, let’s say which combination is probable of bringing more prolific changes to the country, a Harvard educated candidate as your MP and a dumb, weak royal as your PM OR a brat as an MP and a decently educated but strong leader as your PM.

I might seem to be suggestive of specific personalities here, but my idea is to make you see things from a broader perspective. Ultimately it is up to you to see and decide what makes more sense, and not just to you or your constituency but to the country. Because believe it or not, the process is meant for you to select PM and not MP.

For me, making decision based on prospective PM or party leadership makes more sense. I have heard a very interesting proverb somewhere, which meant “people of my town are very honest, because the police is efficient”. In the context, there can be no better simile. A strong leadership can keep bad candidates in check, while no matter how strong a local candidate is, she can not collide with a bigger party. At best she can only be a whistle blower, and then it’s for you to wait for butterfly effect to kick in for any visible changes.

One counter argument to this opinion that holds value is, when there are significant number of good candidates who think on similar lines, they can raise their disagreement against any bill or policy or can get significant projects approved. However, as long as there are fewer candidates, party will get those candidates replaced sooner than later. And that will be win-win, but for party. Thus, I see cleansing of system more efficient when it’s top-down instead of bottom-up. also, that has more chances of success than failure.

Oh, did I miss NOTA(reference)? Well the idea behind bringing this option was to give a negative feedback to parties about candidates, however, in current state, it does not guarantee dismissal of candidates with lesser votes than NOTA. So even if NOTA gets 1lac votes, and other candidate gets 1 vote. He will be your MP. As far as giving negative feedback is concerned, shouldn’t that be implicit for a party if a candidate loses by a greater margin? Party will not give him chance again taking the cue from loss anyway, unless there are reasons to field him again. As long as there is no compulsory dismissal of candidates, this option does not make any sense at all.

Though, if you are of really strong opinion against all current candidates, this option should be used instead, to stop the possibility of forged voting. But if you are planning to press NOTA only because you are disappointed with current candidates because he is good but not good enough, keep in mind, nobody is perfect. You can raise your concerns and grievances through other means also, instead of increasing chances of winning of other bad candidates.

So in my opinion it is a futile choice. Like when you are falling off of a plane and you know (or doubt) that parachute is faulty. Choosing not to even try and open your parachute because you see a small river down the ground, and hope to plummet rather safely in the river. Well, hope is good, but what you are ignoring is, the wind flow, which can make you fall far from the river. Taking chances is all you can to save yourself. At least try !

May the good sense prevails

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