Uploaded on February 11, 2022
TACTICAL VOTING NEEDED MOST
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Assembly elections 2022 in five Indian States will be held between February 10 and March 7 for which polling will take place in several phases. Elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur have assumed great significance in the present environment. Among the five election-bound states, Uttar Pradesh is the most important state, which is presently under Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) rule, and BJP has in its kit bag nothing but prejudices and promises. Under the BJP rule, minorities, particularly Muslims, were harassed innumerable times at various levels. So, minorities are not content with its rule. On the other hand, majority community also appears to be unhappy with it since the saffron party rule has given much incitement to caste-based prejudices among its own co-religionists. It is found that those who don’t belong to the caste of the Chief Minister, and Brahmans as well, look unhappy with the present regime. On the other hand, Samajwadi Party (SP) is being looked upon as a better alternative, and SP is seen gaining much ground in every direction. By allying with small and big political parties, SP has made an experiment which seems to be quite beneficial. Besides this, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and some other secular parties are making a bid for power. Some Muslim parties also have their presence in Uttar Pradesh and they have been exercising some influence at local level, but this time, All India Majlis-e-Ittihad-al-Muslimin (AIMIM) has created a lot of tumult by entering into election foray in Uttar Pradesh. The party’s vote share per cent will be known after the election results are announced. However, since AIMIM has its foundation on the plank of Muslim unity, the party is widely debated on social media. Considering all these factors, it is not difficult to understand that Assembly Elections 2022 in five Indian States, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, have become quite sensitive and interesting.
Elections are the backbone and a striking symbol of democracy. People possess the right to elect a leader of their choice; they have the right to vote, a process which decides who will win and who will lose. The Election Commission is under obligation to hold elections on time and in a fair manner, not allowing anything to affect the democratic values of our nation. At the same time, it is also very important to convince people to cast their vote. An enhanced votes turnout rate consolidates the democratic system greatly. One benefit of heavy voting is that people realise their power. This proves that country’s democratic set-up depends on us and it is we who form and oust a government.
This is in everybody’s knowledge that Assembly Elections in the said five states are quite significant, results of which will impact the future politics. It is believed that results of these elections will be a forerunner of the General Elections 2024. We will also be able to guess about the general trends among people of our country and form an opinion about modalities they are thinking about. We will get a clear vision for our understanding and analysis. We will be able to form a real opinion about country’s political environment. People’s mindset will clearly indicate their aspirations and the type of leaders they look for. It will also become evident which party people trust; on what ground they cast their vote and what are their expectations from the candidate they support?
The whole world is watching that the ratio of unemployment is increasing rapidly. Economic condition is miserable Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised ten crore employments in five years, but even after the lapse of seven years, the promise to the country is not yet fulfilled. Poor labourers and deprived section of the society, along with the whole educated generation are seen upset and restless. In disillusion, Ph.D. holders are forced to run roadside food stall (dhaba) to make an earning. As if this is not enough, ironically, Ph.D. holders are running after smaller jobs like that of office attendants and clerks. People may recall a report when the Rajasthan Government issued a notification for the recruitment of office attendants for which about ten lakh candidates applied. Among the applicants there were 250 Ph.D. holders and more than two lakh graduates, while the eligibility requirement was class VIII certificate only. This incident is sufficient to show the economic distress the country is experiencing. This is evident that people are suffering due to given conditions, while it is well recognized that it is the people who form governments through the instrument of elections. Therefore, political analysts are pointing out that this situation may change the present dispensation in power.
Different political parties enter into electoral spree, and taking a leaf from democratic system, they try to attract people to their side. Every political party issues its manifesto, telling people that if they are voted to power, they would undertake measures in the interest of the people. For the purpose of canvassing campaign, every possible means is adopted. This time, due to the pandemic, digital methods are being followed in a great measure. This, in turn, has made people connect easily with online election meetings and other election related activities. This is also a testing time for the people. It is required of them that they vehemently chose the path of “tactical voting”. People should try to understand which candidate or party is making what statements and what promises are being made. People should not be content with only reading and listening to public statements; they should also read what is there between the lines in these statements. In our opinion, we should judge political representatives through the mirror of our Constitution, which can serve as the foundation of “tactical voting” for a democratic society. The candidate and party who believe in the supremacy of the Constitution, and particularly in its Preamble and work accordingly, should be elected to form government. Any decision regarding the competency of a government is based on safeguarding or violating Constitutional values. If this is not done, and votes are cast on the call of emotional slogans, people will be in a loss, democracy will see its low, and there is a fear that country may lose its credibility internationally. In a democratic country, it is essential during elections that we examine which party and which candidate has serious concerns for minorities and backward communities since no democracy can survive without protecting minorities and backward communities. For this reason, we should continue to review who is with minorities and who is not. It is commonly seen that many people decide to cast their votes without giving any serious thought and checking the credentials of the candidate and party. The value of “tactical voting” is that it helps in making an estimate about the conditions of a region, environment, candidate, party and the whole country. Following this exercise, we should cast our vote in our respective constituencies. If little benefit is sacrificed on the altar of a bigger benefit, we should go for the latter. Instead of getting swayed by emotionalism, we should act with sincerity and participate in the election process with the same passion.
Besides keeping in mind the above mentioned principles regarding tactical voting, we shall have to do one more thing – we should not confine tactical voting to ourselves only; instead, we should take it to others. We should meet all kinds of people; we should have meetings with prominent people of the area and connect with other sections of the society, convincing them to take electoral politics seriously and mobilise voters to go to the election booth in greater numbers. Besides this, we should convince people to vote for such a candidate who will never compromise on the issue of safeguarding the Constitution, upholding its supremacy and preserving democracy. If we enter into the election process with this consciousness, there is the likelihood that it will beget good results, while our country will be enriched with strong democracy and get competent rulers.
(The writer is General Secretary, All India Milli Council)