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Make voting a mandatory exercise

india Updated: Jun 28, 2011 19:40 IST
Shiv Khera

UP’s contribution to country’s politics is phenomenal. The fact that leaders of Congress Party, who were primarily from UP, ruled the country for 60 years speaks volumes about the state’s political clout over country’s politics. Despite all these achievements, the caste-based politics has left the state nowhere.

Today people may have to struggle hard to single out which politician in state politics was worse than the other. This is the saddest part of UP. Mafia like system and extortion has become the order of the day in state’s politics and innocent people are at the receiving end. For the common people freedom is when an honest citizen can live in peace and prosperity.

The big question is if the common citizens of the state are happy with the present state of affairs.

The answer is no.

Then the next question arise is whom to vote.

The people do not have a choice, which is a major dilemma. Racket of land acquisition has left the poor farmers landless. The overall quality of life of the people is poor. Corruption is thriving and people in power are becoming billionaire overnight. While honest persons fighting for the rule of law are getting killed.

Corruption is there at every department. IIM graduate Manjunath was shot dead when he raised voice against adulteration in petroleum.

What’s the solution? Today civil society members like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev are getting hands down support from the masses because nation is fed up with corruption and corrupt politicians. Karunanidhi’s ouster is a living example. People of West Bengal voted out CPI-M government and extended support to Mamta hoping that change of guards will bring some development in the State.

But the problem is that social activists want to keep themselves away from politics. Then the big question is what alternative choice do we have? Who do I vote for? Another dilemma.

Personally speaking, I do not support Ramdev. But how can anyone disagree with whatever he is asking for. He’s simply demanding that country’s black money which lying abroad should be brought home and used for nation’s development.

The biggest tragedy in our country, UP in particular, is that today hardly 50% voters cast their vote. Remaining 50% either believe that their vote do not matter or there is no alternative and people of integrity for whom they could vote.

My suggestion is that those who do not exercise their franchise, their citizenship should be cancelled. In Singapore and in Australia, they have made it mandatory for the people of their country to vote. If they do not, then they are required to file an affidavit explaining the reasons why they did not.

In several foreign countries, privileges of the citizens are curtailed if they do not turn out to vote in elections. They are not issued passport or driving licence. And when we vote, the possibility of somebody illegally misusing my vote gets minimized. Coming back to the bigger issue: Voters today faces a Catch-22 situation.

Whom to vote for? People vote for less criminal and then he turns out to be a hardened criminal. My demand of ‘none of the above’ —an option to be given to voterss- is a must.

What’s that? If 50% or more voters punched the button favouring no one, then all candidates should be debarred from at least two parliamentary elections. They need to go back to the people and work among them. A litigation is pending with the court. Further, it is necessary to introduce the right to recall clause, which would keep elected representatives on their toes.

They cannot afford to take their jobs lightly with no accountability. Reform of the state and the country as a whole rests with the people of the country. If the voters turn out and vote for a leader of their choice instead of cribbing, much of the problem could be sorted out.

It is the only way to keep bad people out of politics.