Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Why Indian voters must pay heed to Modi’s plea

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a fervent appeal—each one in new words and phraseology– to most celebrities, media houses and politicians (friends and foes alike) on his twitter handle to encourage them and their followers to come out and vote in force in the forthcoming 2019 General Elections.

India has more than 82 crore eligible voters out of which nearly 1.5 crores are first-time voters. In the last elections, there were roughly 81 crore eligible voters and only 55 crores had exercised their rights.

Besides the lethargy and indifference which grip Indian voters, there are certain cobwebs, like the attitude “what-difference-my-one-vote-would-make”, which hurt Indian democracy big time.

Quite a few other issues add to eligible voters, especially first-timers and young in age, from casting their votes. Some are posted away from their constituency; some are studying in other cities; some are tenants and their landlords (in order to hide they have a tenant) stop them from registering their eligibility. Some are NRIs and are not sure if they can vote. All of these are issues could be overcome as the Election Commission (EC) answer these issues on their official website.

In a recent media conclave, BJP president Amit Shah said that his party is looking to secure 22 crore votes in the forthcoming elections to form a government again. He claimed that 17 crores voted in BJP’s favour in 2014 which gave them a clear mandate.

Since India has upwards of 82 crore voters but only around 60-70 per cent vote, it would imply that Amit Shah has a target of 30 per cent share of total votes cast.  He has also been candid about his party’s worry on the BSP-SP combine in Uttar Pradesh. In 2014, BJP had secured 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh which was the main factor in party getting a majority in Centre.

Be that as it may, the coming elections are perhaps the most critical in the history of independent India. Indian voters, it’s hoped, would understand their responsibility and make casting their vote a priority on the day of the Poll. A resounding BJP win could break the back of opposition, and not just Congress, who practice dynastic policy and yet crow about the “democratic values” they stand for.  

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