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polling percentage

polling percentage


the elections, this time, were fought not as elections but as warfare. all sorts of aspersions, condemnation, charges of partisanship and what not were the rule rather than exception. constitution will be scrapped, this will be the last election, reservations will be done away with and what not. the other side was as active alleging money will be taken away from one section and given to other. property of more wealthy will be confiscated and distributed to others.

we will not go into facts because these were the worst casualties in such a warfare. we will also not talk about bribing of voters,  finding and confiscating huge cash amounts and all that. here are thoughts about another aspect. all these things , described above, are with us right from 1952, the first elections and will be there probably for all time to come.

in an atmosphere where the opposition thought  it was necessary to cast doubt on everything that authorities do regarding elections, it was inevitable that there should be aspersions on the polling parentage declared by the election commission. especially if there was variation between first reports and subsequent reports, it was said to be faulty and illogical subservience of election commission to the powers that be.

fortunately, none of these allegations are now in public domain. the results are out and there is now nothing to complaint about the conduct of elections. the ill feelings generated will remain but who cares. in warfare, collateral damage is very much expected.


but here is food for thought on an issue which has escaped attention of public.


but first an aside.

In a press meeting, when the results were being announced by me, as chairman of board of secondary education,  for the twelfth class (senior secondary), a question was asked whether we are running a passing board or a failing board. the background was that the results showed only about 40 percent had cleared the examination. my answer was that we are neither passing board, nor a failing board. we are examining board. we examine and we declared results thereof. that is all. the questions have to be directed to other sources.


why bring it up here in connection with elections?

my view is that election commission is directed to hold elections, see that those who want to exercise their right to vote do it without fuss, without undue difficulties, and in a timely and orderly fashion.

it should not be concerned with how many people vote (so long as no one is turned back). whether the voting percentage is 40 or 60  or 80, this is not of relevance to holding the elections in an efficient way.

unfortunately, this is not observed in practice. crores and crores are spent by the election commission cajoling the voters to vote. the increase in voting percentage is announced with fanfare as if that is an achievement of the election commission. if there is shortfall compared to previous elections, apologetic explanations are made regarding the adverse circumstances – rain, heat, and all others,  all this publicity asking voters to vote is sheer waste of public money. it serves no purpose. elections are not welfare programmes which should be designed to measure success by counting how many persons have benefitted from it or participated in it.

elections are for the political bodies and for the persons, inclined to be in politics. the candidate who can  bring higher number of voters to vote for him, wins the elections. it is his responsibility to see that voters vote for him, not for the election commission to look after the candidates and the voters. as it is, notwithstanding campaign by election commission  or its absence, voting percentage depends upon local condition and the efforts put in by the candidates and/ or their parties. lakshadweep returns a percentage of 84.16 percent while bihar has just 56.19 percent. no blame for the election commission for this, and no kudos also. it is not their job. they just record and report. and that is what they should stick to. their job is to  prepare voters lists, supply them to those who ask for it, at a price, arrange polling booths.  and then it is for the political parties and the candidates to convince the voters and persuade  them to go to the polling booths and vote.

hopefully, next time, they will not waste public money for unwanted and unbecoming publicity drive requesting, and/ or shaming the voters to vote.

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