Are Voters in Indian Democracy Beneficiaries or Consumers?

Harasankar Adhikari

In India, the words ‘election’ and democracy have become synonymous today. Elections are the fossil fuel of politics. Democracy is not the problem. Voting is the problem because of “democratic fatigue syndrome” particularly referring to the vote fever, violence, relentless media scrutiny, widespread public distrust, and populist upheavals, etc.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, - “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by the secret vote or by the equivalent free voting procedures.”

But we see “Free and fair election” is almost impossible in India.  Democracy has become a kind of consumer product to be purchased or to be sold or to be looted. Here election is a big profitmaking game. In this game, the vote seekers are the predecessor at the time to election.  On the other hand, voters are beneficiaries because they vote for receiving money, advantages, benefits, etc. for their survival. Voter seekers and voters are here consumers where one purchase and others buy it. Before the Election Day, voter seekers campaign variously like launching of consumable products. Everywhere there are posters, banners, hoardings, tableau, festoons, meeting, rally and they use electronic media. Vote seekers participate in debate and they try to publicize that they are the best for the voters. Even they visit door to door to sell themselves. They use to beg to get a vote like promoting to sell their products.

At the same time, they use the method of luring the voters by applying the new method of business promotion as “buy one get one.” If a voter votes to a particular vote seeker, voter would get benefits of dole like shelter, rice at Rs.2/-, job cards under MGNEGRA and so on.

Eventually, vote seekers publish their manifestos consisting of a series of benefits to the voters to make them dependent on them. The paradox of Indian democracy is that it promises to foster development and progress of voters and the country where they live by making of dependents.

Interestingly voter seekers have full faith on voters and democracy. So, they try to push sell themselves to the voters. But finally on the Election Day, the dominant vote seekers adopt many tactics like booth jam, bombing, and violence to loot vote. Actually they loose faith on voters what they would do. Vote seekers’ selling mechanism becomes unfaithful to themselves.

It is the fact that there is hardly any social and economic principle in proper direction to own voters’ mind.

After the election, the vote seekers are in their own ways. They hardly have responsibility to their consumers because after the election voters become their beneficiaries. They usually perform their duties as their own. They talk about dole and they lecture that their government showers dole to the voters. The voters as beneficiaries have to face the pain and they wait for another election to become consumers, at least at the time of the election.

Dec 20, 2018

 Harasankar Adhikari [email protected]

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