The erstwhile nonchalant voter is facing a dilemma this Election. Gone are the days when the Elections used to come at regular intervals at an easy pace like a leisurely train and leave the station without causing much stir, albeit with a few hiccups of booth-capturing or jumbled-up ballot boxes. But, today, thanks to the political pundits and their ad-savvy advisors, all five senses including sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste seem to be at the receiving end of election- special doses from all corners. Who to listen to- whom to discard is a question, which remains unanswered?
Earlier years used to be more peaceful with less disturbances or encroachments in your personal decision making arena. But nowadays elections means impingement upon your so-called mental space with new slogans, shenanigans, intrigues and war-cries with all kinds of blood chilling apparatus- the TV, loudspeakers, posters, street plays, road-shows, and even full length feature films.Surely the voter who was a king yesterday has degenerated to a frenzied species today.
The common voter is living in a state of quandary. He is sometime subjected to theories based on decades of misrule and injustice, while sometimes he stands cornered on the plank of misquoted economic development, social injustice, religious intolerance and damage to the social fabric of the nation. The polarisation of Indian polity is apparent – country seems to be heading for a bisection of political thought and ideology where one accuses the other of injustice, corruption, cheating, lies, intolerance and doublespeak. Allegations and counter-allegations rule the roost. At loss is the balance or equilibrium in the society, which was the characteristic feature of earlier years. The by-product of this is the confused voter whose perplexity increases with every intrusion in his mental arena.
The poor individual is simply not able to decide. If he turns a leaf in the newspapers to get some insight, he is swept by the flurry of arguments for or against any party. If he starts forming an opinion in favour of some, he is bombarded by the newly manufactured missiles of incontrovertible facts and arguments. To add insult to injury, the family seniors, opinion- lords and even religious gurus try to sneak in with unassailable opinions loaded with examples and tutorials on history, theology, psychology and even futurology.
The only getaway is to either go for NOTA or vote with eyes closed since each is as good or bad as the other. How to cast his priceless vote – or should he keep it secure for the next time - he wonders. Alternatively, vote impulsively or intuitively. The frenzied voter is still undecided.
The views expressed by the writer are his own and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org