Monday, December 28, 2015


India is a democratic country which means of the people, by the people and for the people. As one would have observed, the definition begins with a crucial aspect–“of”, which means that any democracy is formed by a set of people who decide their own elected representatives. An important and unavoidable reason as to why democracy is not successful in India is because of corruption that has entered and ruined the system of democracy.

More often, elections and election results are wrongly perceived and interpreted. Most candidates are bought; votes and voters are bought, while bribes and materials are given to potential voters to woo them. It is shocking for a citizen to know that in some part of rural areas people are threatened to give vote to a particular candidate. People nowadays do not do politics rather they play politics.

Why one must vote:

 Ideally, as a citizen of your own country, one is expected to vote and participate in the formation of the government. It is an opportunity given to every eligible Indian that one must not miss if he/she wishes to see a particular set of people ruling the country. The fact that you vote is living proof that you, as an individual, participated in the formation of a democracy as huge as India. But, more often than not, this doesn’t work as a sufficient reason to urge voters to come and exercise what is their fundamental duty as a citizen. One needs to be above 18 years of age in our country to be able to vote. But, how many of us actually take that extra effort to get out of the house and vote for our desired candidate? Going by most election statistical figures, average voter turn-out in most Indian states is not more than 60%. By knowing the total population, these figures are a shame.

“How can my one vote make any difference???” is the reason given by most of the highly educated people who do not have ignorance and lack of knowledge for not stepping out of the house to give their vote. One another weird reason given is that they do not believe their one vote can make any difference, or that there aren’t worthy enough candidates who deserve their vote. One token to this is the concept of Negative Vote which is an option given to the voters which is the “none of the above (NOTA)”.  It means that the voter has expressed his/her dissatisfaction with all the candidates. However, it is a very absurd option because, it works in the favor of the candidates. Even if one were to give a “negative vote”, it doesn’t help the situation in any way as one among the given set of candidates would still win, with or without the voter’s vote.

So should voting be made compulsory?

Since the voter turnout is very low, we must ensure that people come and vote. Now, the question arises, how? Well to start with, the entire exercise must be made compulsory for all. But, making anything compulsory nullifies the purpose of democracy.  Handful of experts believe that there is no other way to ensure that everyone votes and one can hope of a more equal and desirable government. Some experts do not believe that making voting compulsory is the right way to achieve the desired goal. While the intention may be strong and truly right, the procedure is indeed questionable. If a person is compelled to vote, he/she will be robbed of his/her own free will.

In countries like Australia, voter registration and attendance at polling booths are compulsory activities and this has turned out to be the reason for largest turnout of voters in the world. But, in country like Brazil, this process has backfired. Making something compulsory does not solve the problem. I personally feel, it’s better to have a 60% turnout when we know that the people who voted did so voluntarily, out of their own free will and choice, than a 99% turnout when we know that more than half of that the huge figure voted out of compulsion and reluctance rather than willingness and choice.

-Ms. Parminder
 Student, INLEAD

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