Uploaded on January 18, 2022
POLITICAL AWARENESS IS ESSENTIAL FOR BACKWARD COMMUNITIES AND MINORITIES
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Elections are a lifeline for democracy; they are at the heart of a democracy. It is on the foundation of this democratic system in which people get an opportunity to elect their leader and ruler. People have all the rights as to how and why to elect someone on the basis of certain considerations; to whom they should entrust the responsibility to take state decisions; whom they should declare their ruler. In other systems, it is by the dint of might, power, war and massacre that some mighty person assumes power and subjugates kingdoms. Contrary to this, in a democracy, it is the people with whom rests the power to elect their ruler. Therefore, in a democracy, it is the foremost obligation of the people to exercise their right to vote with great caution. Before casting their vote, people should reflect considerably as to whom he chooses to vote for. The voter should think about what qualities the candidate possesses to win his support. The voter should think loudly how would the candidate he is going to vote for serve the country and society? What are the concerns of the candidate and how he reflects on them? How has he served the country and community? What is his image among the people? How much will people benefit from him?
India is the largest democratic country in the whole world. Here, several types of elections are held, of which general elections and assembly elections are the most significant. After the lapse of every five years, people get an opportunity to elect their Prime Minister, Chief Minister, MP, MLA and other representatives. One mistake leads to regrets stretching over five years. If the right decision is made, it becomes beneficial for the state for a period of five years. Therefore, before exercising their right to vote, people must reflect deeply, giving serious thought to certain important points, which we will discuss next.
Assembly elections will be held in the five states-Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur-between February 10, 2022, and March 7, 2022. These five states are very important, but of them, Uttar Pradesh stands out as the most crucial state, which has the largest people concentration among the Indian states. The route to forming a government at the centre also passes comfortably through Uttar Pradesh. Therefore, the people of these five states, particularly Uttar Pradesh, shall have to consider reasons why they are choosing a particular party or a certain candidate? Why they are going to vote for a particular candidate? Will his victory contribute towards development in the society, or will it be detrimental to growth in the state? Will his victory ensure peace and security in the country, or will his triumphant entry into assembly would promote communalism.
In these five states going for Assembly election, weaker sections, Dalits, backward communities and minorities are found in great numbers. It is rather due to their votes that the government is formed, or others suffer defeat, but the unfortunate part is that after coming to power, it is mostly these people against whom atrocities are committed. They are pushed back to the periphery, denying them all kinds of rights. Therefore, these weaker people have a basic responsibility that they should create awareness among themselves, get united, exercise political wisdom, contemplate to save the country, and try to strengthen the secular structure of the country. They should understand the conspiracies of those people who want to trample on democracy; they should expose those who wish to replace secularism with a Hindu Rashtra and impose Manu Smriti instead of the Constitution of India and enslave Dalits once again; they want to deny every citizen access to freedom, equality, justice and fraternity.
While casting vote, one should know definitely that the candidate he is supporting must be affiliated to a secular party; he must be a winning candidate; people must be inclined favourably towards him; the candidate should be a follower of the principles of secularism; he should possess the capability to connect people with each other; he should be genuinely concerned to protect the Constitution of India; he should share the same thoughts with all the sections of the society; he should dispel communalism by every means; he should be sympathetic to people; he should always be available to people in hard times; he should not divide people-such candidates don’t deserve to be sent to Assembly. People should go all out to take secular parties standing by the Constitution to come to power. In all election-bound states-Uttar Pradesh, the Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur-people should vote for secular parties’ candidates. Instead of supporting a single party, vote for a candidate who is honest, sincere and committed to secularism irrespective of him belonging to any secular party affirming its faith in the Constitution in unequivocal terms. Instead of supporting a single party, we should make certain the victory of an honest candidate with well-known secular credentials. In political terms, this strategy is called ‘technical voting’.
For technical voting, political wisdom, awareness, unity and mutual understanding are required most. Besides this, it is also essential to understand the significance of voting, the value of democracy, to show concern to protect secularism and the Constitution. Then, it is important to know one’s rights. These concerns are unavoidable for Dalits, weaker sections, minorities, Adivasis and backward communities, otherwise, their conditions will deteriorate. Furthermore, atrocities will increase manifold and they shall have to suffer difficulties, atrocities and miseries for another five years.
India is a country where people belonging to OBCs, SCs and STs are found in the largest numbers. These people play a crucial role in getting someone elected or defeated. Numbers do matter but they should be accompanied by political wisdom. They should know their rights. They should have the ability to know as to who wants their development and progress and who are the ones exploiting them. The latter category of political parties only aim to harness their support and get votes; they don’t bother about their progress and success. Such parties should be identified and exposed. On the other hand, parties that work for the rights of the backward sections and have done so in the past, we can count on them and trust their candidates. As against this, parties that have always exploited Dalits, harming them in a blatant way and also subjecting them to vicissitudes of life, should be averted. One should not become prey to their conspiracies yet another time. By exercising the right to vote judiciously, reins of future government should be handed over to their well-wishers. Vote is an obligation, a fundamental right, it is a testimony, so whosoever one decides to vote for, should do so after great reflection. A slight mistake will lead you to an erroneous decision. If you cast your vote due to some greed, opportunism and temptation, you shall have to regret your decision for the next five years; you shall have to suffer from the ill consequences of entrusting power and authority to the wrong kind of people. In that case, you will have no option except wringing your hands in regret; you will have nothing to fall back upon. Therefore, we urge upon you to cast your vote judiciously, giving considerable thought to your choice of the candidate for a better future. Exercise your right to vote in the interest of the country, ensuring the safety of the Constitution since the spirit of democracy is reposed in the election, and it follows from this that in elections, wisdom, prudence and sagacity matter most. Understanding circumstances around, looking at the future and keeping all matters in view before casting vote are some basic points that can’t be ignored. In every election, this attitude should be maintained, and all those things which have been discussed above should be addressed before casting your precious vote.
(The writer is General Secretary, All India Milli Council)