It is now morning after a great storm. The state has faced the Assembly elections which were due and we somehow managed to get a Chief Minister who is supposed to run the government for five years facing all types of bickerings from his own alliance partners and from the members of Opposition parties.
The election process began with the fixing of date for election by the Chief Election Commissioner. With the code of conduct coming into existence as soon as the announcement of elections were made, all works of the government , linked to policy decisions, came to a standstill thereby affecting the progress of state’s development to some extent. The works of voters’ list updated and notified to the public to see the correctness of omissions or additions and the existence of their names and get confirmed and if found omitted to be brought to the notice of Election Commission for action.
Literacy campaigns and awareness programmes about the compulsory voting were also conducted in all the districts of the state by the election officials to urge the people to actively come out and elect their leaders by casting of votes. Candidates from all political parties, including the independents, actively participated in public meetings and also met the voters personally and made their request to vote in their favour. Even the electronic and print media was also widely utilised to spread the message of voting.
The EC, government officials and the political parties have also worked to identify the booth where the voters have to cast their votes apart from finding the serial number in the voters’ list. Even after taking so much efforts, it is now an irony that some of the voters, particularly in Bengaluru, the educated have not taken pains to reach the booth and cast their vote, with the result of only 53% voting was found in urban places in Bengaluru and Mysuru, which shows a total disrespect shown by some of the citizens to the hard earned democracy.
Some of them have gone out in search of their names in the list on the penultimate day of voting, which also shows a not serious attitude. Despite the EC and government having stepped up the efforts to bring in a majority of voters to the voting centres, the lukewarm response is alarming.
The result, we have now seen is that no political party received clear mandate to be eligible to reach the mandatory level to form the government on their own. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which emerged as the single largest party by securing 104 seats in a house of 222 members failed to form the government as it has not reached the magic number of 111. Hence, the other political parties namely Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress though with lesser members, were forced to have a combined group to show their majority and form the government.
The elected people’s representatives were forced to dilute the principles, ideals and assurances they had announced to the people before elections, to adjust with the other party in a similar position and agreed to partner with them.
It is a case of sacrificing of not only their ideals but also to hide their own dreams to a later date until the government lasts. If at any time if any one plays chess game as someone mentioned, naturally the whole drama fizzled out like a football match. The single largest party which could not muster majority has to essay the role of an Oppostion for some time.
The whole exercise of Karnataka Assembly elections of confusions and complexities we can infer, have resulted only because of poor voting and nothing else. With the limited numbers of elected representatives from each party with different ideals coming together, the leaders with due appreciation, had to struggle to keep the existing flock together at least up to the penultimate day to show their strength in the Assembly and that completes the Aswamdtha yaga.
All these Aya Ram and Gaya Rams have become common nowadays and naturally principles and ideals of the parties as planned before elections are thrown to the winds.
At the same time, running of the government with such legislators may not be on a smooth running platform with the decision making machinery to held on mutual consultations and this may affect the state’s development and people’s expectations hardly complied with, in a democracy.
People’s participation in a democratic set up is very important and until our voters understand this, the country cannot move forward for development with a stable goverment. As everyone in the world knows India is a great democracy, for which thousands have sacrificed their lives. But at the same time, considering the present election and its repercussions as a lesson when democracy stoops to the extent of achievement of majority by numbers, the voting by every individual is of utmost importance, which, let us hope, people would learn and keep in mind and act at least during the next elections.
The Election Commission along with the Lawmakers and the Judiciary should bring forward legislation that unless the citizen meets the obligation of casting of vote (exceptions apart), he/she should not be extended any benefits from the government.
-By K V Ramanath