‘Vote bank politics is the practice of creating and maintaining vote banks through divisive policies. As this brand of politics encourages voters to vote on the basis of narrow communal considerations, often against their better judgement, it is considered inimical to democracy.
Vote bank is a derogatory term used to describe plurality in politics.’
This is what I found when I looked up Vote bank politics on Wikipedia. I know when you listen to this term, it bring out a negative vibe. It reminisces the likes of Raj Thackeray abusing the North Indians to encourage the locals to vote for the party. The famous concept ’empowerment of women’ by the butt of all jokes, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, can also be included in vote bank politics as he made futile attempts to get the women to vote for him. There are hundreds of such examples. When I sat down and mulled over this, it occurred to me, there is nothing wrong in using such means to lure the voters. And even if we don’t get to the right and wrong of the issue, we will all agree that the practice is here to stay. So, I thought, why not turn this concept around a bit, and use it to benefit both the parties. The voter, who is more than often complaining about the issues, and the politicians who want to break down the vote banks and get them to vote their respective political parties.
It is a simple concept. What I propose, is a layer between the voter and the standing candidate. This layer, is a group of people, usually the thinkers, the bloggers or collectively you could say, the people who wish to bring about change. Imagine this, each group of such people from their respective areas, will use social media to enlist the problems in their particular constituency which the locals face and gather a vote bank, if you may, which represents the people who would like such issues to be resolved by their candidate. ‘Resolve these issues, and you have our vote’ will be the basic appeal of such groups. And at remote places where social media is not available and the problems are much more grave, NGOs and other organizations who are already present there, can also take this up to gather consensus. And paperwork used and collected via these organizations will be hard evidence about problems faced by citizens on a daily basis. That pothole which you tackle on the road you travel from everyday, that one irritating area which is always jammed by the illegal vendors occupying three fourth of the street could be listed for starters. This will help the candidates to gather votes, if they really mean to fulfil those promises. It helps the people sitting at home watching Arnab Goswami shouting on the Sanjays and the Meenaxis to make a rational decision. And finally, it helps us, the intermediaries to have actually contributed something to the society and not listen to the taunts which always say ‘why don’t you do anything?’. Agreed, it is just an idea, with possibly hundreds of flaws, execution complexities, and may sound very naive. But, as a student, i would love the candidates fighting over actual issues rather than who got a degree in one day and which idiot again said that it is the victim’s fault in a rape.
It would actually mean a lot when such an exercise would also cover teenagers who are not eligible to vote are also able to voice their opinions against problems faced by them. Such activities when carried across schools, colleges, workplaces and households is set to change the course of campaigns and rallies conducted by political parties really interested to come to power. Parties that are not in power should simply use their money to address these issues rather than spending it behind promoting the parties just a few months before elections. That would be taxpayers money put to use wisely. This idea once implemented, in my view, will gather unparalleled response.
Basically, what I want to convey, mainly to the politicians, is that if by adding a layer to this ‘dirty politics’ can even shift the concentration to actual issues, it would be worth it. You want vote bank politics? Here it is. Come on, gather as many vote banks as you can, we’re ready to vote you.
with Harsh Doshi.