Voting? It takes time to register and learn about the parties and the candidates. Often, if the candidate is good, the party is not, and vice-versa. On the election day, stand in long queues or slog through scorching weather, knowing that the chances your individual vote will make a difference among the hundreds and thousands are pretty much negligible.
Is it irrational, then, to exercise your franchise?
Most people are disenchanted by politics. Like many, I too regard most politicians as confidence-tricksters and the political system is no more than a means for furthering the vested interests. Voting has become an activity to some that is not worth the effort. Certainly many voters take a nonchalant attitude. There are some optimists who think because they are voting, people similar to them who support the same candidate/party probably vote, too.
But, very importantly, bad politicians are sent to "New Delhi" by good people who don’t vote. Isn't it?
Mandatory voting in other countries
Do you know that nearly 30 countries have compulsory voting? In Greece and Brazil, for instance, voting is mandatory. If you miss the election day, you will have to justify it, else you cannot open bank account, have a passport, driving license etc. In Bolivia, they can be prevented from drawing their salaries from the bank account.
Belgium has the oldest existing compulsory system (since 1892). There is fine for non-voting. If you don’t vote for 10 elections, you can lose the right to vote. You also face difficulties of getting a job in public sector. Australia has a system of compulsory attendance. Non-attendees face fines and possible imprisonment. In many systems, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”
India is a great country. The greatness is at risk when significant number of people, nay citizens, don’t participate. I don’t want other people making my choices for me. I wish to have a voice in things that affect me. Don’t become a victim of voter complacency. Elections have consequences. Basically people just think that their votes make a difference, even though statistically it may not be the case. Voting does not guarantee that one's preferences will prevail, but choosing not to vote denies a person of having a say in a democracy. Voting, also, may be plain habit for some people.
Regardless of your political ideologies or preferences, voting is a right that you are entitled to as an Indian citizen. Take your time to get educated on the politicians, the political parties and the options available. The pessimistic view that your vote won’t count, is naive, to say the least.
The time has come to cast your vote and exercise your right-duty pack. We owe it, not to the politicians, but to ourselves. If you don't vote, you are in a state of ignorance. If you don’t vote, you are giving scope to someone to fake your privilege. Unmindful of the gender, income, caste, religion….., they, on the poll day, come as one entity, the voters.
Every vote counts. Make sure yours does, too. Just do it!