On the 17th of May, after the Supreme Court verdict, it was set that the incumbent Leader of Opposition (B S Yeddyurappa) was to take oath at 9:00 AM at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore. Raj Bhavan is approximately a 15 minutes’ drive (opposite Bangalore Golf Course) on the International Airport Road from B S Yeddyurappa’s residence in Dollars Colony in the Hebbal Legislative Constituency. Just before the swearing-in ceremony, the then chief-minister elect decided to take blessings from Radhakrishna Temple in Sanjaynagar at 8:30 AM. All roads leading to Sanjaynagar, which connects to Gangenahalli was blocked because of security reasons. Now you might ask, how this is related. Am I writing this post to complain about the road-block I faced while reporting to work? No. I am writing this post about one of the most-affluent constituencies in Bangalore, a residence to eminent film-stars, politicians’ and businessmen with areas like the bordering M S Ramaiah Campus, or the Dollars Colony, Central Excise Layout, AECS and NGEF Layout, Sanjaynagar and some affluent apartment complexes like Sterling, Hoysala and Pebble Bay registered one of the lowest turnouts in the state. It is ranked 224th in the state for a massive turnout of 28%. Yes you heard it right. The Hebbal Constituency registered a turnout of mere 28% on a state-holiday Election Day on the May 12th. There was too much of a fanfare around the voting, with people passing un-informed verdicts.
Verdict? Yes. Overhearing a conversation by a group of 7-8 people on a particular day, they concluded that the mandate was insulted. In between the same, a person in his mid-50s rose in the crowd speaking about an Aam Aadmi Party Candidate, stating that the candidate secured mere 2600 votes (2658 votes to be precise), which was the highest for the party from any constituency it contested. The laughter arose around the group. I wasn’t aware of the candidate. Googling a bit, I became aware that the candidate was fighting elections from Shantinagar, named Renuka Viswanathan, an retired IAS officer who served as the secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat between 2006-08. She was instrumental for the launch of the NREGA programme of the Department of Rural Development under the Manmohan Singh-led UPA 1 government in the Centre. The people discussing this issue belong to well-educated and settled families, so settled to even get up on a Saturday Morning to vote for the right candidate, but have the time to gossip about the same at a local tea stall the next day. Now you might say that someone in the group might have voted. Might be because I did not ask them that question. But they form a large chunk of arm-chair experts. These experts consider themselves very learned and influential, that they don’t consider voting very essential. Later on, these same Bangaloreans (51% was the total turnout of the city) would give interviews to newspapers list from the new government. Metrolife featured an article on the 15th of May 2018 about the bucket-list by the citizens on what they expect from the new government, a supplementary with the Deccan Herald. They don’t have time to vote, research about the candidates in their constituency, but yes would surely claim that the governance is bad. They will speak and give views about the current government formed in Karnataka, speak about morals, but voting, that is not what we can do.
The people are here to blame. I assure you. They have a very good name, a one-off designation “Arm-chair experts”. They have no clue on what is going on at the grassroots level, but would surely form an un-informed opinion. What next? Let me elucidate about another person in this post. I was having a discussion with a good friend of mine at my University regarding the voting process (before the election results). He told me that he did not find the top 3 candidates in his constituency to be useful in any sorts, he admitted that he did not know about the independents so he went on to vote for NOTA. None Of The Above, introduced in 2015 in India known by its acronym NOTA is a feature by which you can reject all the candidates. I thank him for voting, many like him also decided to cast their vote, despite not in favour of any candidate, but is this NOTA effective?
The current form of NOTA is just like token marks given to a student who got 98 marks out of 100. The teacher then decides to give him one more mark, making it 99. But that 99, still doesn’t get him the centum he carved for. This is how the NOTA works in India. It is there, it seems good while casting the same, but it is of no use. According to the Public Interest Litigation filed in the Supreme Court, the court rejected a re-election if NOTA is polled higher that the required percentage, stating that re-election is a very costly affair. The Supreme Court of India even stated that even if NOTA is polled the highest, the second highest candidate would win the election. Being the 3rd post under the “One Small Question” banner let us all ask ourselves one question. We all reject a candidate, but still he wins. Do we need such a NOTA? Isn’t it fair that if a candidate is rejected, say 5% of the population of the constituency, the winning candidate must not be elected at all? A rejection is a rejection. A NO is a NO. But where do we Indians understand the same. We haven’t taught our males to handle rejection yet. I hope you understand in what context I am stating the above statement. Then how can we expect the political parties to accept it? They are our representatives. Am I right? If they are not, then let us make it a mission to forward this message across all platforms till the government actually accepts that a rejection of all candidates must be considered and a re-election must happen so that people get their rightful representatives. A vague reason that re-election is costly will not be accepted. If the courts can be opened in the midnight, elections can happen for by-polls all-round the year, security can be provided to MLAs in resorts, then even this can happen.
If we are meeting for the first time, I am Shashank Kamath. A passionate Engineer, am set to pursue my management studies in a 40-year legacy top B-School in India. I write about, almost everything. Follow me to get blog updates and subscribe to avail free-ebooks designed specifically for you.