By Bhanvi Satija:
Dear first time voter,
With the Delhi Assembly Elections right around the corner, it can be both intimidating and exciting at the same time to be a first time voter. However, now that you are eligible to vote, and since you are one of the smart adults who applied for the voter registration on time – be glad and proud that you get to vote in the elections 2015. The national capital, in fact the nation at large, is currently undergoing a radical shift in politics after being ruled by the Indian National Congress for most of our years of independence. And you my friend, are an important decision maker, an almost game changer in this shift of politics in India, more specifically the national capital.
Being a first time voter, it can be extremely stressful to come to terms with the big question – whom will you vote for? As per our system of elections, we vote for a candidate, not a party – even though a candidate’s party affiliation is an important criteria for judging the candidate. The problem arises when you pick up the newspaper or tune into a news channel and realize that there are so many candidates, you don’t know who to start from. Moreover, most of the mainstream media will only add to your anxiety by bringing to light the recent controversies – who said what against/for whom, which is sadly not a criteria that one should be basing their judgement on. Added to all of this are rallies and campaigns which can also be slightly misleading – especially when certain parties decide to base their campaigns on the popular faces, rather than the chief ministerial candidate. In such a scenario of chaos and drama, how does a first time voter make a decision? The level of anxiety rises as we count days left for the election – February 7 isn’t that far away. Here are a few guidelines that might help make the task easier:
1. Know your constituency – The first step is to know which constituency you belong to. The constituencies for the state assembly elections and the general assembly elections differ – make sure you know both of them. Even though a simple Google search would inform you about your constituency, the official election commission website is a great source to look at –www.eci.nic.in
2. Know your candidate – It’s important to know all the candidates that are contesting elections. However, once you know your constituency, talk to people around you – family, elders, neighbour. An interaction with these local sources will give you information regarding the popular local leaders in your area. To filter out candidates from the huge list, start your research with the popular ones – know what is it that has made them popular in the first place and whether or not are they worth the fame. Also, make sure to draw a comparison of the popular leaders with others, especially on certain basic criteria that suit you, for instance – education, criminal cases against the candidate, the quality and quantity of work done by the candidate in previous terms, etc. Another factor that might help you filter out your candidates could be the party affiliation. It’s important to know the party of the candidate because their party affiliations are often representative of their ideological inclinations. Try to research on the independent candidates in your area. More often than not, promising candidates are potentially more susceptible to be ignored than a candidate contesting elections from a party’s ticket.
3. Vigilance is important – Elections are the time of vigorous campaigning by all candidates and their parties. The amount of money that goes into a campaign could also be one criteria of judgement. This information, even though not so easily available by research, can always be based on one’s own observations by looking around and attending rallies and campaigns by the different parties. It is also important to not be swept away and base your decision solely on these campaigns and advertisements. In fact, one should be observant and careful while having a look at the advertisements and campaigns of the parties – and compare their campaigns.
The battlefield is all set for February 7, 2015. While you count the days left for the elections, the major players of these elections – Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party – move around the capital to perform flash mobs and street plays as part of their campaigns. The third player, Congress, is trying it’s best to slither back to lost glory. Let’s not waste this time wondering whom to vote for – let’s get down to work and make the right choice.
The big question thus becomes – Are you ready to vote?