The Absent Voter

It’s the day after the municipal elections in Maharashtra, India. The results are out and are of less significance for this write-up. It’s the same story over again. The scamsters, murderers, looters, cheaters and the dynasty rulers did win again, as there were very few clean candidates running the elections. What’s more significant is the coverage given by media to the “Absent Voter”. The turnout of the registered voters was quite poor, even when compared to the previous municipal elections in Mumbai. And this after the government of Maharashtra had forced corporates to declare a public holiday for their employees.

The reasons for the low turnout can be many. During one of the previous elections, a similar public holiday declared by the government, was chanced upon as an opportunity to make that pending trip to the native place. A significant quantity of the population of Mumbai happens to be immigrants, who have settled in Mumbai due to better prospects. Now I make myself clear at this point that I am not against people settling in Mumbai as long as they are not doing so illegally. For a megapolis like Mumbai to maintain its growth, large number of qualified and unskilled people are required and this is natural. So people from states out of Maharashtra have made Mumbai their home, officially on papers. They get their ration cards and their name appear in the voters list here. But when it’s time to fulfill their duty towards the people of the nation, they prefer to visit their native place instead. I have seen people making elaborate plans for a long weekend, anticipating a public holiday on the election day at previous election. So where’s the absent voter? He/She is vacationing.

What about people who are residents of Mumbai. Few of them scan through the list of candidates and decide that none is worthy of their precious vote. They prefer to relax in front of their TV, watching the day go by. Some identify a worthy candidate, but reason that the candidate is not strong enough to win against the heavy weight competition,hence do not bother to vote.Few don’t vote under the pretext that the “none of the above” option should have been made available but is not. And some few just wouldn’t care less. So where is the absent voter? Waiting for the next day to curse others for electing the goons back in to power.

I saw a filmstar of yesteryears on the TV(Female. Name withheld for the fear of defamation charges). Been longtime since I have seen her in a film. During the interview by a reporter at the polling booth, this actress shamelessly declared that she had not voted in any of the previous elections for many years. The reason she gave was either the career or pretty busy with herself to think about voting. It seemed that she had come for voting due to the sudden burst of the hormones that make you feel like voting. She did not feel anything wrong in informing that she was totally unaware of the political circus at present and hence asked the advice of a very close “advocate” friend, who, as per her judgement, is very learned. She was sure that he had given her the right advice and she had voted accordingly. My my, first things first. This shocking sentence helped me make up my mind to write this article on elections. Either the lawyer is too intelligent or the actress is stupid enough to admit her stupidness on live television. She didn’t have much work at hand, with her career quite down, so couldn’t she do some of her own research? Most(not all) of the filmstars are just faces without brains. So what about the present voters? They left their brains behind. As good as absent.

Now what about me? I did vote. But not this time. I am not registered in any of this municipal limits as a voter. I had a strong urge to try and vote. But you know, they check you for identification. I did vote the last time we had elections at our place.

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