Who to vote for

Voting is tomorrow and I still do not know who I will vote for. I have been trying to hear between the lines all the screaming debates that have invaded our homes in the past months/weeks. I have been scouring magazines and the net for articles that would help me decide. I have talked to friends and mere acquaintances and even unknown people. Every one had a different point of view.

I recently received a link to an open letter to Modi, Rahul and   by Veer Das which quite sums up what I feel. It all bhakt up as he says in his own ignitable style! But vote we must and intelligently if possible in the present scenario as pressing the NOTA button gets you nowhere. So let me try and get some order in my thoughts and share with you some of the very unexpected views I have come across in the past few days. I was told that a person I know well and who has entry into the hallowed circle of the dynasty, is voting AAP and has asked his staff to do the same. Another lady whose wisdom I respect is doing the same and so his her staff. A sikh shopkeeper told me he would vote Congress as one of the other options scared him and the other would not be good for his business. I leave you to guess which is which. I just got a call urging me to vote BJP as if they did not come with all the numbers then we would have elections again and that was not good for stability. I guess everyone has their point but I am still confused.

For many years I voted Congress as that was the party whose ideology was closest to mine but then it got diluted, dictatorial and then simply greedy. Wonderful projects that never saw the light of day. I strongly believe even today that if 50% of all social programmes are implemented as they should, India would look healthy! My nana was a Congressman in the days when the Congress had one agenda: freedom from the British. It was undoubtedly a motley crew held together by one dream. When India did become independent many thought that the Congress as it was then should be disbanded as they had achieved what they set out to. My nana was one of them. Many attempts were made to make him agree to join the Government but he wouldn't budge from his point of view. Later he would contest elections, municipal ones, but as an Independent candidate whose symbol was a pair of scales and won many times. It is believed that he did a lot for the city he made his home. Maybe people like him were right as history shows that the Congress has gone through several mutations. I did not vote in a couple of elections, being out of the country or again a tad lost. In 2004 when the option 'refused to vote' was possible, I exercised it. However I dot feel comfortable pressing the NOTA button this time.

This election is a whole new ball game. Early this year a new political party again with a one point agenda - end corruption - changed the equation and I voted for them in the Assembly Elections. We all know what happened next and how in my humble opinion, they were manipulated by political stalwarts and Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. They picked up the pieces but the harm was done. The husband is of the opinion that they should be given a few seats to act as watchdogs in Parliament.

A recent article on the necessity or rather the urgency of having a political alternative makes interesting reading. It ends by stating and no matter how regular, free and fair our elections, democracy cannot flourish without dissent. Many have criticised the fact that the AAP is contesting a large number of seats but as a friend quoting a political analyst said, it is the only way for this young Party with few resources to establish a pan Indian presence. Do read the article for a different point of view. Let me reproduce the first paras to tempt you into reading it:

In India at the time of a national election, it’s usually considered fair for politicians and political parties to make promises that everyone knows will not necessarily be kept; for electoral contestants to make claims, counter-claims and allegations that are exaggerated and sometimes completely preposterous; for ticket-seekers to switch parties and allegiances at the last minute depending on the patronage they receive or are denied; and in general, for language to be used loosely, excessively and rhetorically during campaigning. The usual rules about how we speak and what we mean are suspended for a few months, after which things once again return to normal. Odd as that sounds, the exceptional use of language is part of the routine of any big Indian election, and this is probably true in most other democracies as well.

But the 2014 Lok Sabha election in India appears to be unfolding in a way that distorts the use of campaign language as well as the language of election analysis more than usual. It is not just about exaggeration, false accusations and dithering, but rather about serious ideological about-turns and self-censorship on the part of many contestants as well as commentators.

I think we cannot but agree. This election has been the most strident one, a real cacophony.

I have still not made up my mind. I pray for an Epiphany!