Posts Tagged ‘politics’

The Vidhana Soudha, the seat of Karnataka's le...

The Vidhana Soudha, the seat of Karnataka’s legislative assembly, is located in Bengaluru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Karnataka goes to polls in May this year. And as usual there are increasing amounts of press coverage for our politicians and expert predictions of what the outcome will be. A leading newspaper calls it the ‘dance of democracy’. Call it thus or showmanship or a shameless scramble to get a seat in the assembly, we, as citizens, will have to make up our minds and vote to the most suitable party or individual around. Hope you all have registered in the appropriate constituency. I have not. For various reasons I have ignored-slash-forgotten about it. And now it is too late do anything. Come to think of it I had not voted in the last assembly elections either. Agreed that I should be voting but looking at the state of Karnataka politics, one wonders if there is a point. How do you decide which party or individual to support? Close you eyes and press the button which comes to hand first?

Schools teach political sciences as a mandatory subject (or at least they used to). In it there were very detailed descriptions of how an election works in a democracy, with India being taken as an example. One of the points I remember of this process is that each party which wants to contest an election publishes a manifesto, which contains ‘election promises’. Parties contesting elections will publish these and one can get a copy by visiting the local offices of the party in question. How many people do this before voting to understand what the party is promising in return for their vote? I don’t know any who has done so.

Another method can be to see what each party has done in other states and cast your vote hoping they do the same in the next term here. An obvious example is Gujarat. Even though both Karnataka and Gujarat are governed by members of the same party, the state of governance is vastly different. The situation in Karnataka is, well, a mess. It does not look like there is any hope for significant improvement even if the incumbent party returns to power with full majority. This in turn means good performance in one place does not mean good performance elsewhere.

In any election, people are brought to power by the ‘aam aadmi’ based purely on trust. One trusts a particular party or individual and so the vote is cast in favour of that party or individual. How does a party then establish trust then? By ‘governing’, in its purest sense. This is idealistic prattle of course. But there is at least one way to establish some trust. The Election Commission records cases pending against candidates which the candidates need to specify in their applications. One can find out how many and which types of cases are pending against candidates, if any of course. A consolidated view of this statistic across Karnataka should yield interesting results, to say the least. If you are keeping up with this, then the vote would go to the party fielding less number of such individuals. To take this to the next logical point, if in a ward all candidates are equally, lets say, controversial, then the populace should abstain. This would force re-election for that ward. And, if the parties in question have any common sense, they will field a different set of candidates.

Something like this would obviously be a long-term process. And just because a case is registered against a person, does not make that person guilty. I like to think that the populace can make up their minds on guilt based on extensive news coverage such things tend to attract. It would be a start nonetheless. The present system needs a refresh. It is too muddled up, too opaque. Better minds than mine can come with better mechanisms but a change in the angle of the rudder is required, however small.

So who will you vote for?