DailyPost 2417

Have you been electioneered? The answer in unison is a resounding Yes. It can be a single voter, a caste, community or the whole state or country, that can be electioneered. Though you have not thought about it, it has happened to you, every time an election is conducted in your area. Getting electioneered is the process of experiencing the electioneering happening on you as a voter / subject and you reaching the polling booth with that knowledge to have your tryst with democracy and destiny. The mode and modalities would have changed, the essence remains the same and gets more and more concretized with every election.

Whosoever you might be, once you close your eyes and think just before the election, the kaleidoscope will start running on the screen of your memory, to remind of the main elements of electioneering; a crude version of Festival of India, rather than the content of it. Was there ever any content in electioneering? If there was any, did the electorate understand? While ever political party talks about the mandate of the people, how many of them get their marks card based their performance in the last five years and share it with the people. Manifesto implemented is not an item in electioneering, then why do we need electioneering in the first place? Why do you conduct an exam again, when the results of the earlier exam has not been declared?

The buntings, entry arches, flowers, portrait banners to what not, are the first ingredients. Then there is a whole army of primarily the unemployed and other floating elements who are rechristened as party workers. They run all errands from gathering crowds to playing outriders, distribution of what not, arranging for processions, road shows and public meetings. The more important ones getting into the slightly confidential areas of delivering freebies and quietly without a price. While you have the casting right to vote, they will make you run around even in electioneering, is the travesty of justice.

Digital marketing has added new dimension to the game of electioneering. It is of high value and reaches each palm in no time. With multimedia strength it is circulated to hack the voter’s mind. We know of such instances globally as well. While the neta left with no choice comes begging for votes, he knows fully well, that he has to act this way to electoral victory and then rest would he history. The asset growth of our elected representatives substantiates this claim. Liquor and cash do the back end. Local performers get a chance to make money. Election has an allied industry working for it. Each day of electioneering is a verbal duel between the leaders with no meaning and consequence, yet being reported as if French Revolution is happening again. Finally, you vote for the cause of the neta’s growth, well-being and welfare, with you having no stakes in it. What does electioneering mean for the voters, if any, is Indian elections billion dollar question.

Sanjay Sahay

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