Saturday, April 11, 2009

Don't vote for independents and regional parties

I have a fervent plea to all voters - please *DO NOT* vote for independents or regional parties for next 10 years or so. Even if these candidates may be honest, hard-working, result-oriented - please keep them out of power.

I know this logic seems inverted and downright stupid for the uninitiated. But think about it - the only way we can have a strong government is if one of the national parties receives a majority. Only then can the government go forward with development agenda instead of catering to the whims of individuals or factions. I personally don't care if its the BJP or the Congress which gets the majority - come to think of it both of them have tried to do a good job since 1998. BJP did this nation great service by going ahead with the nuclear tests and opening up the economy - in fact it laid the ground-work for the boom we saw post 2004. Congress also tried to make positive reforms in various sectors like insurance, telecom, nuclear deal, etc. but the fear of the Left kept the Congress from doing a stellar job.

Right now the national parties spend half their time hob-knobbing with their so-called allies and only the remainder of the time is given to the people. And I don't blame them. We as a people have failed if we vote on the following basis:
  • caste - needless to say majority of votes are given/taken on the basis of caste and the percentage of people voting on the basis of caste must start reducing
  • regional pride - Vote for the national government on the basis of regionalism is downright stupid. A good independent legislator is *useless*. He cannot push through reforms alone. Democratic governments run on collective ideology, not personal whims. So while it may *seem* like a good idea to vote for a independent candidate with a clean profile, it doesn't help you eventually.
  • Short term promises - The only promises that should be respected are those that have the potential of empowerment - education, skill training, long term infrastructure projects through government spending, making bureaucracy accountable, transparent governance. Promises like reservations, subsidies, freebies only weaken the populace as I have indicated in my previous post - though I must admit it will look attractive to the minimum wage earner.

So my request to you is very simple - look who among BJP or Congress candidate in your region is more better and vote for him.

Ok, now for the skeptics: you will very rightly say that this cannot go on forever. You are right - we should do this only for this and the next election. And hopefully until then the national parties would have given a good account of themselves. Hopefully by then parties like Shiv Sena, MNS, Left, AIADMK, Trinamool, BSP, BJD, etc. would be relegated to the side-lines and we will have successive strong governments at the centre taking India where it should be.


Rahul Deshpande said...
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Kalpak Shah said...

Congress party rules unopposed for all of those 40 years. Now that BJP has grown to be almost as big as Congress they are keeping each other in check. Yes having 1 or 2 coalition partners is acceptable but not 8-10 of them catering to each ones whims.

Definitely you should not vote for Kalmadi, but what about the BJP candidate from Pune? You must realize that an independent candidate can only do so much because more often than not, they do not have enough clout in the PMC who actually _implement_ the project. The bureaucracy only listens to power which comes through breadth and unfortunately only the big parties have it.

There is another angle to this: take an example suppose candidate A has a strong marathi votebank, then candidate B pays money and fields a strong marathi candidate C who has a very "clean" image and is an independent. This is only done to take away votes from candidate A. So candidate C has no chance of actually winning but he ends up helping candidate B win.

Apart from that consider this: is Pune's development in the hands of _only_ the sitting MP? Development occurs due to central or state policies - large funds for making cement roads, flyovers, slum rehabilitation cannot come from PMC. Central policy like tax rates, IT tax holidays, infrastructure spending affect Pune to a much bigger scale than the local MP.

Rahul Deshpande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.