Vote for No One

In the run down to the 2014 general elections there is a huge outcry imploring the people to exercise their right to vote. I, myself, have been part of this persuading movement. But the more I attempt to decide who to vote for the more uncertain I get. More than an economic bankruptcy, India is suffering a leadership one.

Your vote demonstrates who you think deserves to lead this country. It is a tool to demonstrate your confidence in a Party (in all practical terms an individual) to govern us for five years. But what if you do not think any of them are up for the task? What if you are so completely indifferent between candidates that voting becomes a matter of a lucky draw?

The way I see it, come 2014 I have the following options: Congress, BJP, AAP and the 3rd Front. The way I see it, none of them deserve my vote.

A recently trending article by Pratap Bhanu Mehta, illustrates what Congress has done to our country in their back-to-back reign for 10 years. A better job cannot be done by any and I urge you to read the article yourself. It explains how under Congress' rule almost every sector of the economy has been destroyed and is being destroyed further in their final attempt to consolidate certain vote banks using populous policy. The economy is in a bad shape, worse than we realise, while Congress seems to be on a suicide mission with laws such as the Food Security Act. It is almost like they realize they will lose and are setting up the economy to collapse post the 2014 elections.

No, Congress definitely does not deserve our vote. Not only because of their pathetic performance and their scandal filled reign but also because the kind of precedent we as a nation want to set: Do we allow terrible performance to be rewarded by once again giving them power? If so, how will we ever hold our leaders accountable? Our leaders, who already think of us as idiots, will have more reasons to mistreat us. No, Congress back in power would be a national shame.

So if not Congress, then BJP? That does seem to be the popular track as of now. Modi has proved himself as an able administrator. True, there are plenty of reports, with good grounds, that say he is more hype than action. But still, he has done good for Gujarat. With our current economy, Modi maybe our best option. But now I ask you to pause, breath, and picture this:

You are at work and are suddenly informed that riots are imminent and you should probably head home to your family. In the age of fewer mobile phones you find it difficult to get in touch and rush home to make sure your family is safe. You reach home to find general panic among your neighbors. No one seems to know what may happen and no one seems to know what to do. Suddenly some one shoots the idea that the neighboring Gulbarg Society which houses a Congress MP would be a safe bet. People pounce on this first rational suggestion and rush towards what they believe will be a safe retreat.

You are now with 30 other families in the MPs house when you see a mob appearing at gate of your society. The hooligans are armed with swords and guns. They are screaming slogans of an alien religion and lusting for the blood of you and your family. You reassure your children by telling them there is a 20 feet wall around the colony which will keep them safe. But when you hear the gas cylinders blowing up you begin to avoid their eyes. The helpless feeling of not being able to assure the people who rely on you is shattering your spirit. Watching the MP, with all his power, making calls after calls begging for help and being repeatedly turned down is washing away that little confidence you had left.

As a last resort your leader is trying to offer a bribe. No one believes it will work, but you have run out of options. You watch the MP reluctantly open the door and throw the money just to rush back in. But just before he could, arms grab him from behind and you watch him, in horror, being cut into pieces and burnt alive right in front of you. You know the same fate now awaits you and your family and there is absolutely nothing you can do...

The above narration was based on the in-depth research conducted by Tehelka on this topic. Their reports also comprehensively prove Modi's involvement (or lack of) in this episode (here and here to list a few). Such atrocities happened under the rule of this man. This man refused to help such people. Help he could have given with a mere phone call. Does such a man deserve the top job of this country? What is the precedent we are setting here? I shudder to think.

Chanakya is credited with the quote: "If the king is pious, the subjects become so; but if the king is vicious, the subjects become the same. If he be indifferent to both (virtue and vice), then they too bear the same character. In short, as is the king so are his subjects." How can we, with a clean conscious, vote ourselves into this direction?

So no to Congress and no to BJP. We seem to be running out of options. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is not really feasible either as they are still a nascent party and do not have the experience. They have also periodically made a few statements that suggests they may not understand the economy very well. The 3rd Front on the other hand have all the experience in doing all the wrong things. With potential leaders like Banerjee, Mayawati or the Yadavs, this would be India's nightmare come true. Fortunately, it seems highly unlikely.

So who is left? No one. I am a young Indian very eager to exercise his right to vote. I had to wait 5 years after turning 18 to do so. If given the option I would have gone through the entire registration + voting process just to show how I think none of them deserve my vote. Alas, that is not an option. I am truly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Correction: A friend has just brought to my attention Rule 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules (1961) which provides you the ability to abstain (using form 17 A) and have the presiding officer make a note of this decision. I apologise for my ignorance. I guess I will be voting this elections after all!

P.S. - If you do agree with me, I urge you all to exercise this option even if it makes life a little difficult for you and the election commission.