Why I do not vote in elections in India

 

You thought I would provide some moral analyses on why voting is not important, or that I should have a right to choose and that I have chosen not to vote as a right?  Or that I would put forward the rhetoric that all politicians are crooks, so whom I vote for did not matter?  Unfortunately those are none of the issues that I even need to think about.

 

Not too long back, I lived in a beautiful community called, Garden Estate, in the city of Gurgaon in India.  It is beautiful because it is self-managed.  The three-kilometer stretch of road outside Garden Estate where offices of some of the top Indian and multi-national companies are located is full of potholes, non-working traffic lights, and squatters. 

 

I went several times to the office of the Commissioner to collect my voterís identity card.  The office, which looks futuristic from outside, makes illegal car parking charges for parking on the side of the road, using the authority of the Commissioner.  Well this is where it all starts, as always in India.  Law is not for the corrupt bureaucrats.  You go inside the office that looks after the ID card, and a couple of sleepy people make up faces to look important and in fact make an effort to ignore you to substantiate it.  When I enquired about my ID card, they refused to give any information, and responded very rudely.  And yes what is the big deal about it?  Where in a government office in India can you expect to be dealt with decently? 

 

I was asked INR 500 as bribe to get my card.  I refused to pay it, even if it meant I had to give up my fundamental democratic right to vote.  Biggest democracy in the world?  What a joke!  There is no complaint system that the election commission seems to follow.  Try their web site it you donít believe me:  http://www.eci.gov.in/.  If you prefer to contact the Commissioner of Gurgaon, see their web site: http://gurgaon.nic.in/welcome.htm. 

 

 

Jayant Bhandari

July 2003                                                                               Return to home page