Every 5 years, a drama engulfs this country, a game of power. The first loksabha elections I saw consciously were the 1999 elections, was watching the names, the results flash on TV, didn’t know much, but saw that it was BJP everywhere. I was more concerned about the candy the vendor was selling outside my house though. Fast forward to 2004, new elections, new results, new consciousness in me, I had heard about the ‘feel good’ things, Venkaiyya Naidu talking about tonsuring his head, I don’t know if he did. I saw how a country of crores of people made the decision of who will work for them, wait! ‘rule’ them for the next five years. I loved the element of surprise democracy holds, when big names loose, small names score surprising wins.
All these years, all I learned from this most important event in a democracy, is that ‘Elections are just a game about who has the most money’.
When you are offered 1500 Rs per vote in Municipal Corporation elections, you know what is the extent to which money flips the fair judgment of a voter. When I first time saw campaigns, loudspeakers, with hundreds of motorbikes running behind them (not to forget the loud noise they make, sans the silencers, attention seeking, you see 🙂 ) lakhs of people standing in summer heat, just to listen to that one leader, I wondered what makes these bikers waste their costly petrol? What good does listening to lies does to these people taking on the heat. I wondered. Someone told me that all these people in crowd, get perks to stand there, to be part of the crowd, from cash to food, from saris to TVs.
Went to my dad and complained about the unfairness of the system, how contradicting it was to all the idealistic lessons about elections I was being taught at school. He just said, there exists a limit to the amount you can spend on a particular election, to make it fair. He clarified; it was some lakhs of rupees. I realized, this was another rule which no one bothered to care about, no one to safeguard us against this dominating display of wealth, making fair competition for a normal person with a mind to serve the people, a dream.
Lakhs of rupees? Ha haha. Crores are getting smaller, cash flows like water, votes are bought, bought by alcohol, bought by cash, bought by fake promises.
18,000 to 30,000 crore rupees, yes, the estimated amount that this year’s elections will see these parties spending. A major portion of this free flow of cash, will be going into advertising campaigns to influence the voters, bombarding them with advertisements to vote for a particular party whole day. Advertising is no evil, you know what is evil? Evil is, my brothers, my sisters dying of hunger, dying of diseases which could have been cured, but no, these people have no right to live, right? Mr. Modi, Mrs Gandhi, I wish you had spent so much money to help people, to feed people, to cure people. Humanity cries on your shameless splurge, while you yearn for power.
Black Money, yes, the major issue in the run-up to these elections. See the irony, parties speak against black money, and their ad-campaigns are being funded by the same black money. Those who wish to differ from this view, you are free to do, just find your defenses on how any clean organization can accumulate funds to the tune of 18,000 crores just through just donations.
I still have faith, I still have hope. You can buy our votes, but you aren’t buying our souls. It’s just a matter of consciousness, the day every person will start questioning about this unfair show of wealth, this sale of democracy, you wouldn’t have places to hide, dear politicos.