Vote or Die!

Today is the day to vote, people (staying in Delhi)! Let’s do better than Mumbai, shall we? (Gaaa! I won’t be able to vote since my name is not on the electoral lists yet.) I posted this earlier, but I feel it’s necessary to repeat this message from Puff Daddy on the importance of voting.

A lot of campaigns have been launched in India for the election process. Google India launched a site dedicated to information on the Lok Saba 2009 elections in association with Hindustan Times. One of the most energy-filled – and irritating jingle-filled campaigns – has been the Pappu Doesn’t Vote campaign, brainchild of Delhi electoral officer Satbir Bedi. Tata Tea is laughing all the way to the bank over the success of its Jaago Re ad campaign, which is reported to have excellent brand recall. FM channels have played their part too (apart from the irritating Pappu jingles). Times of India jumped into the fray too with its Lead India campaign.

The least Times of India could have done is to come up with a their own idea for Lead India. Check out this TVC called Kuch Nahi Ho Sakta

…and compare it to the American Don’t Vote campaign…

The only difference that I see is that the Indian version has ham acting, but let’s forgive these people as they are not talented. What’s left to rip-off then – Declare Yourself?

Actor Vinod Tiwari (the guy in Jaago Re ads) seems to have got a theka from God-ji to to star in all ad campaigns even remotely related to voting. He’s the poster boy for the No Criminals campaign, Too bad he’ll probably be out of work for the next five years then. What would be interesting to see is how many of these websites (US or Indian) are around uring the time of the next elections. Then we’ll know that corporate India cares about these things rather than just trying to piggy-back on a ‘charitable’ cause.

Who am I supporting this election (even though I can’t vote)? There’s no doubt it’s Congress. Congress might have done wrong things in the past but if you’re talking about now they are the most sensible party of all. Can you imagine Mayawati sitting across the table with Barack Obama in a global leaders summit? There’s a reason why Pakistan walks away with so many lollipops from the global community and India remains furiously indignant – and that’s because our neighbours across the border have more smooth-talking heads of state. (George Dubya sure must have found understanding Musharraf easier than Pranab Mukherjee.)

Besides, BJP is the only viable alternative available (let’s not kid ourselves. ‘Third Front’ / ‘Fourth Leg’ / ‘Fifth Hand’ whatever is a myth) and I definitely do not want them to come to power. They speak as if the economic situation would have been any better had they been in power. It’s a global recession dammit! For LK Advani’s online advertising campaign alone BJP is spending Rs 230 crores on Google AdSense (I came across the data in a newspaper, but couldn’t track down the link right now). I even saw LK Advani ads on TechCrunch once. Since AdSense slots are sold on an auction basis, BJP must be placing ridiculously high prices to outbid everyone else and get itself display on a high-traffic website like TechCrunch.

L K Advani ad
Yo maan, just look at him - trying to act like a rap star and instead coming across as so fucking retarded

The level of maturity they show with nothing but pure rhetoric attacks makes me feel glad that we have a D.Phil from Oxford and an MBA from Harvard at the helm managing financial matters in these difficult times. Besides, if Congress loses or an unstable coalition is formed, then stock market is going to take a sharp dive. Not good for currency exchange rates.

Oh, and if you want to stay up-to-date with all news on Indian Lok Sabha elections 2009 check out Yahoo! India’s website on it. It features comprehensive news coverage from various media, quick facts about parties, videos, manifestoes, quotes, et al. Don’t miss the ‘Compare Manifesto’ feature! And those who can – get out there and vote!

38 replies on “Vote or Die!”

My views:
BJP is evil but Congress is no good. Making a choice is not so easy. There are so many pros-cons in each debate between the two.

You know, its only due to Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee that India is going as it should under UPA rule. Who else is in the Congress apart from these three?

Let’s take a look at the other leaders in Congress:
* Arjun Singh: He only knows how to cook his own political meal using reservations. Am dead sure, he doesn’t actually care how much reservations actually are used.
* Shivraj Patil: Anything more to say? The guy was a minister for 4 years and even after serial blasts, still clinged to his seat. Why? He has always remained damn loyal to Nehru-Gandhi family.
* A.R. Anutaley: Why did he fart at the time India was pressurizing Pakistan? His statements carried any sense? He was trying to give a communal touch to the whole set of events.

I won’t say BJP is better. In some fields, BJP is better, in some Congress. Choose the one which you find better.

Concluding, don’t vote for third,fourth,fifth front. You can only find PM candidates in those fronts.

P.S.: You forgot to put your stand on the Left. They are now in Third front, but earlier were with govt.

  • I consider Left Front to be inconsequential since they won’t side with either BJP or Congress now, and no Third / Fourth front is ever coming to power.
  • I support Congress precisely because of of Manmohan-Chidambaram-Mukherjee trio.
  • I am against reservations, strongly. But I also realize that even BJP or any other government would have done the same. The bill was passed unanimously after all.
  • Asking for someone to resign after something bad happens is natural, but doesn’t change one thing. We have no right to say “Government is not doing XYZ” if voter turnout remains at 40%. If we don’t care, why the fuck should they care about what urban India thinks? ‘Gandhigiri’ is the biggest culprit for this complacency. It makes people feel they’re doing something substantial when all they’re doing is an effing candle march.

I agree with what you said.
Well, just something didn’t happen bad. It was a carpet bombing all over India and what Shivraj Patil did was “Terrorists will be dealt strongly” after each attack.
He was incapable and came to power just because he was close to Nehru-Gandhi family. To add insult to injury, he lost LS elections from Latur, now since he was a great ass licker, he was provided way into Parliament via RS and given such an important Port-folio of Home-Ministry.

Now when such incapable,useless, ass-lickers can come and hold key posts, then Manmohan Singh can be surely elected via RS from Assam.

True, he should’ve been a bit more sensitive in handling the issue. My point here is against BJP’s rhetoric – all they are saying is ‘Congress let terrorist attacks happen’, not ‘How we would have stopped these attacks’. I don’t want to support a party which is only acting in an opportunistic fashion without any concrete solutions in hand. We must also realize that tactics used by terrorists have changed over the years. During BJP’s time we had terrorists using RDX etc for explosive – and that has been very effectively stopped. Now the modus operandi has shifted to using crude bombs packed with nails that you and I can make in less than a few hundred bucks. It’s a challenge for both security agencies and the government, and it must be stopped, but spewing hot air like the BJP is doing isn’t going to solve the issue.

Let me clear a point. I am not pro-BJP. I just want to vote for a person who is the cleanest candidate. It may be either from BJP or Congress. Left,RJD,BSD etc are out of question.
I have even named some good candidates in some comment over here. The irony is that each allegation has a counter-allegation and no party is clean. I can’t call Congress holier than BJP or vice-versa. They have their own merits and de-merits.
I have followed politics since long and my involvement in tech part is relatively young. I can’t say that a party X has a little edge over party Y. In that case I can point out some points which give party Y an edge. My vote always depends on the particular state for Assembly elections and candidates in LS, but I still feel that Congress has failed in security aspect.
They have done better in rural employment this time due to NREGA, but Security and Infrastructure are two places where is failed. Why infrastructure? WTF happened to Golden Quadrilateral Project? It’s stalled. The trio has handled finance quite well. But there are two major achievement and two major failures. Start judging!

About Golden Quadrilateral Project, you’ll see that most of it has been completed.

About security: The new guerrilla warfare tactics that terrorists are using are unprecedented. Such guerrilla tactics have been used successfully in conflict areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan – and that’s with the US Army. Switch on BBC any day, and you’ll find one bomb blast in Iraq daily. So the tactics which are being used is something which is, unfortunately, highly successful and nobody has cracked how to stop all this. Rhetorical attacks on the Indian government on this issue doesn’t solve anything either.

I checked it on the Google Lok Sabha microsite. It’s not listed there. Nor was it at the electoral booth, for that matter.

Aaaahh … even my name isn’t there in the voter’s list … so annoying!

And yeah, BJP’s campaign seems to be made of ‘Congress is bad’ rather than telling is what they’re good for …

This is precisely why I don’t like BJP. All they are saying is ‘Congress is bad’ and not ‘what we will do better’. On top of that they give bullcrap like ‘Rs 200 per month 2 mbps Internet’ and ’10k laptops for all’. Such insult to the intelligence of a voter!

Democracy is valid only when there is significant something to chose from. No matter who you vote, the bottom line is that you’re financing some thugs. Even individual candidates, if elected have to join either the ruling coalition or the opposition, and they barely get any say. It boils down to the fact, that it really matters shitballs whoever you vote.

It doesn’t even matter if you don’t, but if you start voting serious and clean candidates, probably some years down in line, more people would follow suit.
Not voting is hardly a solution.

Serious and clean candidates? Ne’er heard that before.

Even if there are such candidates, they really don’t get much of a say, because in the end, the policies of the ruling party are only going to be followed.

There are a few, but probably quite less.
Secondly, they are scattered in all parties, so your moral and ethical thinking might sometimes block it.

e.g. Shashi Tharoor contesting from Kerela’s Thiruvanantpuram seat. There are some more in my native state, but voting there is no possible for me as of now.

Making such sweeping assumptions all the time is not valid. Let’s take the candidates in my constituency – Ajay Maken (Congress) and Vijay Goel (BJP). Both decent guys. But still, people try to squirm out by giving the “They are all criminals” excuse.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan (CM of MP) is also said to be a good person.
Madhavrao Scindia was also a very good person, but he is no longer amongst us.

Even though they are rare, but they exist. We need to vote for them and boost their moral.

This reminds me of an article in HT a few days back. They carried this news report of residents in Dwarka (a locality in Delhi) going to the area MP and complaining that some housing societies weren’t getting enough water. What the politician said is frank assessment of urban voters. He said (I’m paraphrasing from what I recollect), “The only time you urban educated folk come to me is when you have problems. You never attend any MP-resident mutual meetings that I hold, you never come to vote during elections. This is as opportunistic as what you accuse politicians of only bothering about people when it’s election time, but the truth is you don’t bother to support us either.” And it really is very true. Even when there are sincere guys, us urban voters act too snobbishly – dishing out excuses along the lines of “I’ll not vote unless everyone is not corrupt”.

Actually I don’t always blame the politicians. It’s we who elect them. Half of the brainy-witted-educated lot refrains from voting saying that there is no clean candidate, which itself promotes the dirty ones. No one is ready to take initiative. If everyone comes forward and starts voting for clean candidates, then parties will realise the merits of fielding cleaner people.

This MP had guts to say this. Hats off to him! Needs my salute. We people have the habit of maintaining status-quo. Unless sometimes breaks, we don’t move forward to fix it, even when its on the verge of breaking.

We already have lost the moral high ground with abysmal voter turnouts. What happened to all that angst after 26/11? Not that I think BJP being in power would have any difference to the attacks taking place, but still. What happened to all that “We will vote”?

I first want to ask UPA why did they remove POTA, when this new law contains 95% POTA rules or something close to it?

They cited misuse to settle political scores.
Example: Jayalalitha used it against Vaiko for his pro-LTTE speeches. Now this new law is used to again Varun Gandhi whereas Ajmal is being tried under normal laws. I don’t say that Varun is 100% clean, but still. If POTA misuse was bad so is this misue of the same level.

Lemme clarify some things here:
* National Security Act, the Act under which Varun Gandhi was booked, has been around since 1980. It’s not a UPA baby.
* What was primarily different about POTA was that the accused would be ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Thus, the onus of proving oneself innocent would be on the accused. This is contrary to most other laws, where a person is ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
* Terrorists are on a suicide mission. They are brainwashed enough to give up their lives. Do you really think they are going to sit down and debate which section of IPC or POTA or whatever they’ll be tried under? No. POTA in itself is not a deterrent.
* What POTA is though is powerful weapon of misuse. Unlike other laws, it allows law agencies to hold someone in custody without producing them before a magistrate within 24 hours. POTA itself would have not deterred any terrorist activity, yet what it could have done is to be tremendous misuse. This was precisely the reason why TADA was repealed earlier. There have been cases of misuse.

I am really lost in so many nested comments. Trying my best to answer.

If you think that POTA is dangerous because it allows past the 24 hr detention period, then there are even more dangerous laws. Heard about Preventive Detention Act? It allows security forces to take a person to custody and nothing much is clear that till how much time. It was supposed to be preventive, but is used sometimes against Hurriayat when they start going on rampage citing some moral and ethical reasons against India. This is still more dangerous than POTA or any other law.

Even NSA allows preventive detention upto 1 year.

I’m against POTA and any other draconian law – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – etc. I’m not that well aware of NSA clauses, so I won’t comment on it. But if it does have stuff which infringes on civil liberty then it must go. Putting a tougher terror law simply doesn’t deter terrorists. The only thing it accomplishes is to become a opportunity for misuse of power.

Yeah! NSA says 1 year though I can’t give you a guarantee as I am not a lawyer.

With reguard to Preventive Detention act, I am not sure but heard that it has been repealed. Not sure when…


That’s the whole point. The fact that you’re not in control regarding the election of the person you wanna see at the parliament. The system is flawed.

Everyone says that system is flawed. /me too.
If I won’t do anything to improve the system, I won’t criticize the government. Everyone needs to do a bit to improve it.

Not in control? As in? It’s a democracy. Anyone who wants to stand for the election, can. What more possibly can you do? You can’t force anyone to stand in a seat if he doesn’t want to.

I meant what if I support Shashi Tharoor, and I seriously wanna see him in the Parliament. What can I do? He’s not contesting for my constituency?

I’m not 18 yet, so couldn’t vote anyways. Though I did check out a few of the candidates here. The BJP representative was a government school teacher. She was in our society for a plea of support. Sounded pretty rehearsed. Maybe she’s clean, but didn’t feel like she’ll be able to do anything really. The Congress candidate is a known gunda here, so no point. There were a couple of individual candidates as well.

I mentioned Shashi Tharoor just as an example. I’m just saying that I maybe in control of who’s being elected from my constituency(there should be a simpler word for this :|), but I’m helpless about other constituencies, am I not?

You lost my point. I don’t want to force anyone. I just want to be able to support a candidate I think is deserving, irrespective of constituency.

Dumb idea to check the website really. Going to the booth and checking would have worked better, like it did for me. Anyway, next elections maybe.

I did go to the booth. I think I mentioned that. But it wasn’t there. All electoral data was made available by that NGO Google tied up with.

Let me clear a point. I am not pro-BJP. I just want to vote for a person who is the cleanest candidate. It may be either from BJP or Congress. Left,RJD,BSD etc are out of question.

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