I voted in the 2014 Indian Lok Sabha elections today, after researching for many days about the different candidates up for election in Pune. I voted today after discovering yesterday that I was not voting in the Pune constituency at all, but in the Maval constituency. I had a few hours to learn more about the candidate scene in my constituency before I voted and here is what I discovered:
- The NCP-Congress’ chosen candidate deserted them and stood as an independent
- So the NCP-Congress poached a candidate from the Shiv Sena/BJP
- The Shiv Sena/BJP denied a ticket for its sitting MP and chose an ex-Congressman instead
- Dejected, the sitting Shiv Sena/BJP MP quit the party and joined the MNS instead
- The MNS is supporting the independent candidate who quit the NCP-Congress
I struggled to choose between these earnest folks and thought I had made my choice until I discovered:
- The Shiv Sena/BJP candidate (who chose ex-Congressman) Shrirang Barne had competition from another Shrirang Barne who somehow got a ticket from the JDU
- The independent candidate Laxman Jagtap had competition from not one, but two other Laxman Jagtaps, also independents
(This is a common practice in Indian elections to dilute votes of your competitors by fielding candidates with the same names so gullible voters will not discern the right candidate.)
Given such a free exchange of candidates between parties amidst a comedy of triplets, I felt my earnest vote had no value left any longer.
Yet I voted. I voted because I felt it was my responsibility towards my country. I voted because it was my constitutional right. I voted to uphold my right as well as my responsibility. It feels good.