Issues in Elections: An Overview

As election dates to the 15th Lok Sabha draw closer and campaigning picks up pace, media on its part has also started a campaign of sorts; campaign for clean elections and educating the electorate to make their vote count.

Some major issues before the electorate are criminalisation of politics, religious / communal hatred and corruption. Then, lack of development, rural poverty, failure of law and order and threats to the nation’s security are the products of corruption at high places and criminalisation of politics. The policeman who got the job by bribing a minister will not come forward to protect your life and property against anti-social elements enjoying political patronage. An MP’s Local Area Development funds or an MLA’s Constituency Development funds would invariably be operated by their henchmen through officials handpicked or made compliant one way or the other. One can imagine the degree of development achieved by such initiatives. And, when law gets ambiguous on serious issues like corruption (remember the JMM bribery case and the Supreme Court judgment on that) what it means to the common man is anybody’s guess?

This rot of corruption has gone deep into the roots and every institution of democracy has started sounding hollow. The system needs a change, perhaps a complete overhaul. Some suggest a presidential form; others propose proportional representation and many more. Who has to decide, if at all, on such vital issues? Obviously, the parliamentarians we will elect.

The communal hatred prevailing in the country today is a direct fall out of our flawed concept of secularism. When citizen of the country are not equal before the law of the land how can communal harmony be ensured? Today everyone is gunning for Varun Gandhi for spreading hatred. I have no doubt in my mind that he has uttered the words we all heard on television. It was foolish of him to say so that much openly. He perhaps got swayed by emotions. Childish! He ought to have done it like almost all other Indian politician do best; secretly and through workers in door to door canvassing.

In a system which at best encourages mediocrity at the cost of excellence in all walks of life, what are the options before me in these elections? The system is the same. I am afraid I'll once again have to vote for the 'lesser evil' because the ballot machine is not going to offer me the choice of opting for 'none of the above'.