Sunday, February 25, 2007

Vote for??

Last week, i fulfilled a fundamental duty (have'nt we heard that term somewhere??).
I cast my vote!
This is the 4th time since i've gained eligibility and never before has the person i've voted for won!!
So, for the first time, my vote counts!
Now, elections bring out various facets of ordinary people. The candidates overnight become local celebrities and new professions are temporarily created (like the auto-announcer (literally))
Now, that's a separate line of thought.
What i've been thinking about is that this is probably the first local election in which there has been such a stupendous canvassing expenditure!
We are talking about ordinary people who are contesting for the post of a municipal corporator.
For each ward, there are atleast 4-5 contestants and each of them has done their best to try and get elected.
Now, there can only be one winner. What about the expenditures incurred by the rest?? In most cases, ordinary people (read as Not Rich) contest. Where is this money coming from? and why is the government allowing it?
Now, what will be the salary of a corporator? Max 10000/- pm. Not more than that. Now, in their term of office, will they even be able to make back what they've spent to get elected thru their salary?? By Expense, i'm not talking about behind the scenes allegations of buying the votes or giving the voters cash or gifts. Up Front, each candidate (more so for bigger party contestants) hires a multitude of vehicles ranging from jeeps to rickshaws for the entire duration of canvassing permitted time and that's not free. Each of them have had bike rallies multiple number of times and that's not cheap. Most of them have huge signboards and acrylic banners at every junction in their ward and that costs money! Hand-outs, Newspaper, Radio and TV Ads, posters on vehicles. We really can't even gauge their spending.
Now, commercially, there has to be a return on investment. So, our system is virtually guaranteeing corruption. Why do we crib later that these leaders are corrupt when we elect the ones who've canvassed the most??
In our ward, there had been Zero publicity for the BJP Candidate. In fact, till i went into the booth, i did not even know that the party is fielding a candidate from here. And the person was an unknown.
She did not even get a deposit.
Now, why do we blame the person whom we've elected that they're the stink of our system and with other such creative insults?
There is an entity called Election Commission and it's pretty powerful too. Why is there no action taken at the root level?
And, this time, there is no Mayor candidate for Vizag. They said after the corporators are elected, the party which wins will field a candidate (and that person will buy out the corporators support) who will be sworn in as a mayor. No wonder they become corrupt. Where will they get all this money from otherwise??
It's time we think about a change. A change at the root level.
Any ideas?

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