Bangalore’s Shame.

There are things worth getting upset about. Like the state of the nation. If you’re not getting worked up about where this nation is headed, it’s time for some introspection. In any case, I’m no one to judge. There are other things worth getting upset about. Like how utterly unconcerned your fellow citizens are about the future of the nation.

Bengaluru. Familiar to most as Bangalore, the IT hub of India. Our very own silicon valley. The garden city (or what used to be the garden city). Home to the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In many ways, Bangalore is India in a nutshell. The diversity in it’s population in terms of language and religion is a true manifestation of the diversity of India. One can not speak of Bangalore without speaking of two things. Bangalore’s weather (Oh the beauty of it!) and Bangalore’s traffic(Oh the terror!) . Bangalore is beautiful city with beautiful people.
But today, Bangalore deserves none of those accolades. Bangalore deserves a rap on it’s knuckles. Maybe three or four actually.

When all of India is taking part in the largest democratic exercise in the world, Bangalore disappeared. With an alarmingly low voter turnout percentage in the late 40s, Bangaloreans have shamed Bangalore. What is the use of having a population that is so educated that they think they don’t need to vote? What’s the use of population that doesn’t seem to care for democracy? I genuinely hope that all of you smart Bangaloreans enjoy your long weekend ( it’s a 4 day weekend if you include election day) because you’ve sacrificed your constitutional right to vote your representative. For shame guys. For shame.

Bangalore’s total population is about 9.5 million. Roughly 6-7 million of those can vote. Hardly 3-3.5 million of those actually voted. And the winning candidate will get, say around a million and half votes. That means that 1.5 million people will decide the representative of 9.5 million people. It’s a text book case of the ones who didn’t vote deciding who gets elected, effectively.

There’s such a lot of nonsense talk about people being so upset with the government that they decided not to vote. You’ve got to be crazy. If you’re upset with the government, VOTE THEM OUT. If you’re not happy with any of the candidates, use NOTA. You could’ve chosen none of the above. If your next argument is that NOTA has no impact so it’s as good as not voting- I know your real reason. You’re too lazy to go out and vote. It’s not the candidates, not the corruption. It’s laziness. Yes. I’m being harsh. I’m being harsh because no one is ever going to tell you all this. Our constitution is too nice to us. No one is going to force you to vote. If you cared, you’d do it voluntarily. Most polling stations were deserted by the afternoon.

There is only one thing to say to Bangaloreans today. At least to one half of them. You don’t have an excuse to hide behind. It was a holiday. All you had to do was vote. You failed miserably. The country was watching. And in the eyes of the rest of India, respect for Bangalore went down a notch. But what do you care? You got the holiday you wanted.

Militant infested regions in Jharkhand saw more voting. For shame. And we’re the educated society? Shame.

Be ashamed Bangaloreans. You’ve brought shame to Bangalore.

Stay Safe! Stay informed!

Anirudh Dinesh
Editor-At-Large, Dudurudh.

NOTA : Complete the story please.

With much hype and celebration, our news channels reported a landmark Supreme Court decision recently.

NOTA.

NOTA or None Of The Above has been made one of the options for a voter in an election. Basically, if you’re not happy with any of the candidates being presented to you, you can register your protest by voting for ” none of the above”. It’s a landmark judgement, no doubt. But does it deserve the kind of applause it is getting?
But first, let me give credit where it’s due. The option to register your protest isn’t something new. We’ve always had it but for three reasons it wasn’t very effective.
1) Not everyone knew about it.
2) To exercise it, you’d have to go to the presiding election officer and register your protest vote there. An unnecessarily tedious process and, more importantly, one that compromised your right to a secret ballot.
3) It had no effect on the outcome of the election whatsoever.

Now, what makes this verdict so important is that it solves the first two problems. By putting the NOTA option on the voting machine, people will automatically see it when they stand to vote. And since no one will know what button you pressed, secrecy is preserved.

But the real issue is, that it doesn’t solve the most important problem. The thought behind a vote of protest is that if a majority of the voters in a constituency feel that all the candidates presented to them are undeserving, the parties concerned must change the candidates and present new ones for a re-election.
Hence, giving people the option to reject incompetent candidates who hope to win by calculated, divisive political tricks.
As of now, even if 80% of the voters were to press the NOTA option, the election would be decided by the remaining 20%. That gives the candidates more reason to manipulate the gullible 20% by offering money, clothes, alcohol and other incentives. That also gives the cynical bunch who rarely vote the chance to say that they’d anyway vote NOTA and so it makes no difference whether or not they actually vote.
One of the major arguments doing the rounds praising the NOTA button in it’s present form, is that if the majority of a constituency were to “register their protest” against the list of candidates, the party hotshots will have some bollywood-esque guilt trip and that’ll “shake up” the political class.
Umm. Sure. Remember how we “shook up” the political class with the Anna movement when lakhs of people gathered on the streets and registered their collective protest? I wonder in which government office that lokpal bill is currently gathering dust.

These shake ups are utterly useless. The only way to improve our electoral process is to change it. Take NOTA to its logical conclusion. Make an election in which a majority rejects all candidates, null and void. Conduct a re-election in which a new set of candidates are presented.

People aren’t stupid. If they get a chance to reject a convicted criminal from standing for the election, they will do it. NOTA in its present form won’t let them do that. The other Supreme Court judgement that disqualifies an MP if he’s convicted will help. But a modified NOTA will make sure that such criminals don’t see the corridors of power in the first place.
No punishment in the history of mankind has ever deterred anyone from committing the same crime again.
The solution to corruption lies not in punishing the corrupt but in not allowing them to engage in it at all or to take it a step further and select people who won’t engage in it.