TODAY -

The power of We, the voters
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: April 06, 2024 -



WITH the five-yearly electoral exercise of electing representatives to the lower house of Indian Parliament just a couple of weeks away; people in Manipur, which is still reeling under the impact of an unprecedented violent ethnic conflict that broke out since May 3 last year after the Kuki-Chin people clashed with the Meetei/Meetei over the latter's demand for recognition as Scheduled Tribe (ST) seem to have been caught in a dilemma with some calling for boycott of the election while others are campaigning for free and fair elections.

However, with each passing day inching towards the D-Day, the list of the people or organisations advocating boycott of the election appears to be lengthening. In between these two sections of the society, there are also some organisations which are either seeking deferment of the election until normalcy is restored in the strife-torn state or intensifying their movement to push for making certain issues as the main agenda of the election with the avowed stand of not supporting the candidates who do not subscribe to their demand.

It's true that the upcoming election to the 18th Lok Sabha is a very crucial one, not only from the point of prevailing unsettling situation in the state where thousands of displaced families on both sides of the clash divide are still languishing in the relief camps, but also from the issues at stake that need to be given immediate attention for necessary redressal before it is too late.

So, this five-yearly electoral exercise of electing representatives to the lower house of Indian Parliament, which, no doubt, has been thrusted upon the people of Manipur in the midst of a yet to be resolved over eleven months long humanitarian crisis, could be regarded as both a curse and a blessing, depending on from which side of the fence one stands and looks at.

It's a blessing for those hoping to bring about a change in the system but a curse to those who have lost complete faith in any system whatsoever.

Nonetheless, boycotting the election or pressing the None of the Above (NOTA) button in the electronic voting machine (EVM) is not going to be the panacea for any of the ills afflicting the state and its people today.

Just as we are the arbiter of our own fate in life; it is, "We, the people of India," who are responsible for the system that is in place in the state and the country at large.

As responsible citizens of a democratic Country, we have been given the right to vote under Article 326 of the Indian Constitution so that we could take part in the administrative affairs of running the country through the elected representatives of our own choice.

It may be convenient to blame our elected representatives for a failed system, but it is, we, the voters, who are to take responsibility for the failure of own elected representatives. Our elected representatives failed, because we failed in electing the right candidates to represent our voice.

So, instead of crying over spilled milk, the upcoming general elections to the 18th Lok Sabha, even if it has been thrusted upon us at this critical time of crisis, should be welcomed and accepted wholeheartedly as a golden opportunity given to us once again after five years for rectifying not only our own past mistake but also to ring out a strong message to all political parties and their candidates that the Constitutional right to vote guaranteed to the people in a democratic country is a powerful weapon that could effectively make and unmake them if they don't live up to the expectation of the people.

As a writer had stated in an article carried on the April 5 edition of this newspaper, boycotting of election or "not voting is one way of ensuring that the bad politicians are simply rewarded for their bad behaviours," every eligible voter should exercise their franchise judiciously to elect the right representatives of their choice, if they want to bring about an overhaul in the system.



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