Sunday, 21 September 2014


By: Team PenTastic
By Rohit Das,4th year, Textile Engg.

(editing by Pratikshya Satpathy and Jessica Mohapatra)
What we have in our Elections......

We in India have 'something' in everything that is known as 'typical Indian' or 'Desi' style. Be it food or the cinema or  music everything now a days has an 'Indian' sub category. This is good  as we as a subcontinent have influenced  style to such an extent that our style has been classified in a different way than others. Music, food, art etc. are casual things but today I am talking about the 'Desi' style of campaigning during the electoral activities in our country.

 As far I know regional songs and rallies including Jhankies have been an integral part our political campaigns. In the 2014 elections, we all witnessed the real madness of campaigning and it pretty much got onto our nerves. It was during the 1st election of the Indian republic in 1951 when most of her people were functionally illiterate and the literacy rate was creeping somewhere near 20%. That time it was quite a hectic task for the government machinery to educate people about democracy and their rights. It was very difficult for the common man to distinguish between  political parties and the independent candidates on the ballot paper, so this gave birth to an innovative system of political emblems by which people could easily relate to a candidate by the symbol (party) he represented. Until this time the system was quite simple. But soon the Indian National Congress lost its political monopoly in 1980s to various regional political parties who also wanted a share in the pie. Keeping on the trend they also started using political emblems or symbols. These things took big forms during the elections where songs with specific lyrics were produced, road shows were organised and special processions were taken out just to make people aware about the party and the candidate who will represent them in the elections from that region.

 With loud music and crowd they posed terrific inconvenience to the people around them. These things seemed good till 30 years back where there were no computers and people did not have access to television. So such type of campaigning helped the political parties to make people aware about them and educate them to choose the correct candidate. But the question is "Are these things required now?” The literacy rate of 74.04% (2011 census) shows that nearly 3 out of 4 persons can read, write & speak in a single language. They too have developed a good sense of the world and possess rational thinking to some extent. Do they need this kind of processions to become aware of the right candidate?

 In this 21st century people have become a lot more intelligent and aware about their rights. Now there is absolutely no requirement of these political circuses. What they need is public debates between the candidates and discussions like those in developed countries. This will help people in deciding the better candidate in a better way than just standing by the road and seeing a political procession pass by. By this the parties won’t need the huge amount of donations for campaigns and the system could be more transparent. The system I mentioned here has been tested here in Bhubaneswar during the last municipality elections where the candidates of Salia Sahi were made to give out 'Why I stand for' speeches just because they did not have money to campaign. Though it is simple I believe it would be an effective weapon in deciding the credibility of a candidate. This will bring all the candidates in the election into a single platform irrespective of their personal wealth and capabilities. They will have to market themselves to make people believe why he/she should be chosen. This will effectively stop the black money from getting into politics and make the task a lot easier for the EC to keep a check on all the candidates from violating the regulations that have been laid regarding the political campaign expenses.
What we need in our elections......

 Party flags/symbols are used in many places including US to not only forge an identity but bring everyone under the symbol who relates to it or wants to vote for it. And this is a shear wastage of money.  We are not austere or reasonable on many occasions/situations and we often carry it to our politics. While we may blare loud music during wedding or religious processions or protest unjust ways in the governance (as under British rule), we need not carry these customs to modern electoral politics.

 With the official announcements on for the student council election in our state in various colleges it was quiet outrageous to see that the students of  21st century were following the mainstream political parties i.e. by folding hands, a garland around their neck and a group of his /her supporters shouting and asking other students to vote for the candidate. Seeing this , the first thing that came to my mind was 'wait, are they following the same unmethodical way of campaigning as big political parties do? Why do they need to fold their hands and beg for vote? Can’t they justify why they are worthy to be elected?' I stumbled on these type of questions because it is from this lot of students who may choose politics as their career and may find their way into the parliament or legislative assemblies. If they get seasoned up this way right from their 1st step in their career then this era of anarchic politics will continue and India will not be able to produce  true leaders in her future and Odisha will have no better option left after Naveen babu who will have a voice of his/her own. Perhaps this is the result of lack of imagination and the trail of copying others that gets implanted in us right from the school days.

One must take a look at the elections that take place in IITs. But the detractors will have one thing to say "We are not an IIT" and why? Because it is easier to say so. It will be very alarming to hear that there are very few or almost no agenda based parties contesting the student body elections.

 On a ground of shear reason i.e. a perfect system where everything is perfect and rule of law is prime, omnipresent, just and delivered then and there, there need not be politics or politicians. But utopia is an 'ideal' view that till now has been confined to books.


  1. The thing is that INDIA is not same as the UNCLE SAM country nor at the peer level of the GREAT BRITAIN. The former countries have a massive literacy rate as compared to INDIA. In a country where some are not able to get themselves a square of meal a day , what the expectation that they would be having a knowledge of their rights and decisions taken for their up-liftment. . so it is a sheer waste to adopt rhe tactics as used in developed countries like a debate because this discussions would be limited to the affluent class and the bandwidth will get attenuated reaching the so called in need of it, and with the mere mentality of the unprivileged class who like to sell their votes even knowing its power and value , it is worthless to think so. So if parties make a campaign to reach the voters individually it is not a ideology to turn our back, but rather we should appreciate that the one whom we could elect and give the chariot in hand of are concerned about us but care should be taken that this is not misutilized and there should be a committee to prevent the horse trading and vote purchase .Ensuring the promises are fulfilled lies completely in our hands, because in India " THE SMALL GROUP OF IN POWER ARE CORRUPT BY EXCESS OF POWER AND THE ONE RULED ARE CORRUPT BY TOO MUCH OF OBEDIENCE"

    1. The system I said about has been successfully tested here at salia sahi where neither the literacy rate is good nor the candidates had any remarkable qualification. Moreover the candidates contesting an election prefer to speak in the language that the junta understands the best so i don't think that understanding debates and discussions will be difficult for the less privileged. Rather it would be easier to check the black money entering the politics and by this we can try to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.