Not An Option . . . . But a Duty!!!

Problems never seem to end for a nation we need to get them to an end. Another problem that needs to be looked after by us which is eating up our country with every passing day is politics. Thinking about the term politics, is it really justified to call the biggest democratic nation’s governing system merely a political game. I guess not. We all know at what stage our country’s leaders have brought us to.

The biggest democracy in the world is run by self-centered, community biased, compassionless politicians who talk about everything but development. The increasing corruption, bureaucracy and blame game doesn’t seem to end for our nation soon. But the thing to think upon is that how come these unworthy people make up to the topmost positions in our country. May be the quote summarizes the answer a bit “Bad leaders are elected by good citizens who don’t vote”.

India is the world’s largest democratic nation with a gigantic electorate of approximately 714 million; it has used 8.2 lakh polling stations, 46.9 lakh polling staff, 15 lakh electronic voting machines with a mammoth sized budget of Rs 1120 crores to complete the election process for its 15thparliamentary elections in year 2009 but its unhealthy 59.7% voter turnout pales in comparison to many of the democracies in the developed world that went to polls in the last five years like France (76.8), Germany (72), Japan (66.6), Argentina (70.9) and Italy (79.1) with their respective voter turnout.

Voter turnout is nothing but the percentage of electors on the voters list who marked a ballot during an election. Through the years Italy is scoring high among the others with an average voter turnout in its 14 elections of about incredible 92.5%. In the same survey, that spans 50 years, India has a low 105th place, with an average of 60.7% in 12 elections. So where do we stand, despite of having the 2nd largest electorate in the world we’re unable to get a significant amount of voting percentage and give a better Government to our nation.

One of the major causes of this is the decreasing youth voter turnout in India. India has a huge youth population covering 41.05% youth of the total population but the voter turnout amongst youth is as low as about 50% which is a serious affair. Recent studies show that youngsters’ votes played a major part in the elections. President Barack Obama showed a few years ago that the powerful voting force of American youth can play a heroic role when he secured 60% of the youth votes compared to 45% of those 65 and older.

It is indeed a very pertinent issue that we have witnessed a steady decrease in the youth voting percentage despite of all the development and modernization that is taking place. It is a cause of great concern as the future of our country depends on the young leaders and voters. A reason because of which youngsters aren’t voting is that they find politics dull and uninspiring. They don’t think that politics is something that is going to affect them at all. But that is so untrue. They can’t distinct between different parties and their respective policies which will get imposed on them for the rest 5 years.

Young voters between the ages of 18-24 have long been hailed as the most apathetic demographic in the nation. For decades, they have voted at rates between 10 percent and 25 percent lower than the national average. May be the is youth giving more importance to music, movies, malls n multiplexes and don’t think that their carelessness isgoing to pay them back in form of roads with pot holes, broken bridges, lazy govt. Servants and filthy surroundings. And if still we keep on blaming the politicians for all this then sorry to say but we have no right to remind them of their responsibilities if we don’t fulfill ours.

Your browser may not support display of this image. There is also a lack of knowledge and understanding in youngsters of what politics is and which one to vote for and one of the reasons for this is the lack of interaction between candidates and youngsters. Politicians want to reach people who will vote for them so they don’t engage with young guys at all but I guess they’re missing the big picture. A lot of young people think that their individual vote won’t make any difference but they don’t see that they make half of the population of the country and their voting can bring about a revolutionary change in the government.

In a democracy it’s vital that as many people register to vote as possible and both govt. and commercial sector should encourage young people to take part. Further more voter turnout can be increased by lowering the voting age, compulsory voting and civic education in schools.

And youngsters should realize that spending an hour on a polling day and vote will not harm their enjoyment much but it’ll surely help the country to get a more responsible government. Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘It’s but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.Believe in yourself we can bring a change. Payback to you country & act as a responsible citizen, “PLEASE VOTE!!”

Naveen Sharma