There were 3 EVMs with nearly 3 dozen candidates for Bangalore Central, the constituency for which I was supposed to pick a candidate to vote for. I was familiar with a couple of the candidates, and knew a lot more about the parties themselves.
For a while I was unsure of what to do. Picked the least uncertain choice, and felt extremely illiterate about the entire exercise.
Here's a bunch of questions I have about the whole setup of State Assembly vs Lok Sabha candidates and elections:
- Whats the "impact" of choosing candidate X to the Lok Sabha. To the State Assembly ?
- What are the candidates rights, duties and scope of influence ? What issues can they raise/influence ?
- Is the specific candidate even relevant for the Lok Sabha polls ? Why ?
- Do candidates even have a voice within their parties during the functioning of the Assemblies ? Why is the concept of a "whip" permitted in a democracy ?
- What mechanisms/ground realities exist for these elected representatives to engage with their constituency before they participate in debates and vote on issues in the Assembly ? Does the concept of the "whip" render this idea impotent ?
- Should not candidates clearly pick and spell out specific agendas and causes they intend to pursue - obviously from those that are within their spehere of influence depending on whether they are representing the constituency at the centre or in the state ? Should they also not be working for these issues "off duty" - i.e. even when they are not members of the Assembly etc ?
- If the possible local impact of a Lok Sabha candidate is low, whats the big deal about a candidate "from my constituency" ? I'd rather pick someone - irrespective of where they are standing for election from - based on the attractiveness of their thoughts and leadership qualities on issues that impact the nation or policy making, as a whole.
Perhaps I've got a lot wrong - perhaps there's just a lot of information gap. But to me, right now, it does look like the the mere exercise of franchise does not make for a healthy, functioning democracy on its own. There's definitely much more to it, and I cannot imagine too much of it happening around me as it exists today.
Anyhow - good first step - maybe the next set of changes will start to happen soon. Staying positive.