A Pav Bhaji seller in Gurgaon is running for the Lok Sabha Elections. A candidate ran many times against Indira Gandhi and other big political candidates. Remember a man they called Dharati Pakad? Two big name candidates are running as independents in Bihar because they were denied tickets by a vengeful party leader. A banker is running as an independent from South Mumbai. A daughter of famous parents and a famous dancer herself is running against Advani in Gujarat. The man who pioneered low-cost flying is contesting from Bangalore.
All these people have different ideas about what they want to do when elected. But all of them are united in one thing: the voice of a lone individual must be heard in the world's biggest democracy.
Vir Sanghvi wrote in the Hindustan Times the other day that independent candidates like Meera Sanyal eat into votes of 'worthy' candidates like Milind Deora. Vir reasons that since Milind has a national name recognition, he deserves to win. As an opinion from a citizen, one can accept such reasons. But, coming from a big name media personality, this assertion is nothing short of stupid. Guys like Milind Deora have influential fathers and the means to get media coverage. Till the other day, Milind was part of that so-called Baba brigade - yound MPs who owe their rise to their fathers' names. Guys so lucky they have big name media people eating out of their hands.
They said after Al Gore's defeat in 2000 U.S. Presidential Elections that Ralph Nader ate into the liberal votes. Hogwash. Al Gore lost because he could not get more people into the polling booths. There are plenty of votes to fight for - the average polling rate in India is aound 55% only.
Today, on April 16, the first round of voting have taken place. A village in U.P. has decided not to vote - they were angry at 60 years of neglect. The lone woman who voted is telling the media reporer that she regret doing so now. The angry villagers are saying not a single candidate came to visit them during campaigning. They are also angry that they find no candidate worthy - almost 40% of all candidates in Bihar and U.P. have criminal backgrounds. Others are plainly incompetent who get into office becasue they belong to a certain caste.
I see all these articles about the power of youth and so on. I wish to see more of these young people standing for M.P. elections and see for themselves what democracy is all about. Most of us do not want to go against crorepati candidates. Most of us are content sending castetist, fanatics, flatterers, corrupt and nepotists into office.
In the next elections and I think the next Lok Sabha will not last more than years, I hope to see citizen campaigns exhorting people to stand for elections rather than voting for idiot candidates. After all, God helps those who help themselves.