By Pranay Prakash
10 April, 2019.
With Lok Sabha elections around the corner, citizens are complaining about what they call a flawed voting process. Things need to change after the elections.
A few people The Observer spoke with also complained about the various poll malpractices they have observed.
Arijit Das, a software engineer who lives in Kolkata, informed The Observer: “The electoral process in the country is not working. It might be working in the urban areas; but in rural areas, there is no freedom to vote for a candidate of your choice. People are assaulted for not voting for the ruling party’s candidate.”
Another voter from Kolkata, Saptarishi Chaterjee said: “Gunshot incidents have become common during elections. This is not how elections should be carried out.”
Voters are also worried about the party which will come to power, and how it will work for the country. Vinay Prakash, a share-market speculator who lives in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, said: “The wrong person in a position of power can do more harm than a robber. Choosing the right representative is important. The focus is on political parties, not on candidates who can champion local and regional issues along with national ones.”
“Local issues have been overshadowed by communal politics and the desire of political leaders to win the elections at any cost,” he added.
Abdul Razack, a political analyst, said: “This year’s election is seeing a no-holds- barred campaign by both the National Democratic Alliance and the United Progressive Alliance. Regional parties are not too far behind. With so many competing regional satraps, the election is bound to see chaotic campaigning by all the candidates and political parties in the fray.”
“Whichever party wins, one thing is certain: The old style of political campaigning is dying. Recently, on a wall in Allahabad, slogans were found painted soliciting votes for Lal Bahadur Shastri. Political campaigning has moved from such simple means to a medium which can cause sensory overload in people,” Razack added.
Many voters complain they are not represented adequately in legislative bodies. Sameer Sharma, a resident of Dharmshala who works in Gurgaon, said: “Very few of the issues faced by common people are addressed by politicians. The politicians only talk about their parties and campaigns. All politicians are only interested in coming to power, and not serving the people who have elected them.”
Some people The Observer spoke to about doling out freebies during election said that the Election Commission should frame stringent rules and implement them.
Sanjay Gautam, a digital marketer working in Noida, said: “During the last Lok Sabha elections, there was news that a cache of liquor bottles was found at a political leader’s house in Uttam Nagar in south-west Delhi. There were also reports of parties distributing cash and liquor in Uttar Pradesh and the southern states. These practices need to stop. The Election Commission should step up vigilance.”