Fasgaya – How to get clarity from confusion as to whom to vote ?

03 MAY 2018



We said in our blog 1 on the subject that whatever party cares about and solves (not just talks) the problems of family -what we had designated as category 1 problems- should be preferred in elections to parties talking about social and global issues like secularism, caste, creed, language etc.

There is one more variable in our decision-making when it comes to whom to vote and that is the specific candidate who is contesting.

We now know the method that parties, barring exceptions, follow while selecting candidates for competing elections. The candidate should be rich enough to spend high amounts in electioneering and what is more he should be prepared to pay the high command a substantial amount for nominating him as a candidate. Such qualifications automatically largely disqualify candidates who would give genuine service in resolving at least partially the problems faced by families that elect him/her.

The candidate correctly argues that if he/she has to have a good return on investment of the money in getting sponsored as a candidate and on the huge election expenditure subsequently, he/she should recover the investment with interest and appreciation in the five years for which he/she is elected. Moreover there is a chance he/she may not get elected and the entire capital invested is at risk. After all politics is a high risk business. So he/she ensures that during the term elected he/she should not only get ordinary return but extraordinary ones so that the next few elections are taken care of. Poor chap, he/she has to run his family too in style so the candidate decides to earn so much as not to put own family in financial trouble for the next seven generations! If the candidate has to manage all this during the elected term and beyond, there is no option except to accept huge money for ‘service’ rendered to the common man, who has chosen him to resolve his family problems.

The common man’s family problems surface when he has to approach the Govt. that is controlled by the candidate whom he has voted for. As for example, his ration and problems related to his ration card like renewal, change of place of his residence etc., his property tax, his water tax, his water supply, the problems related to sewage department, the electricity board that comes in to solve his problems related to electric supply, house construction, expansion etc. for which one has to get permission from whatever mda’s, land / houses bought and sold and the registration thereof, registration of marriage, birth and death and getting these certificates, etc.

Fortunately these problems are ever there i.e., the demand for solving these problems are always there and ever increasing with increasing population. So our elected friend thinks that the business he/she has invested money in namely an election has a perennial and ever-increasing demand and so has good potential for return on investment. So the candidate has no choice except to charge his own fees for meeting own financial needs of family and the rather costly political career he/she has chosen. What is wrong in this approach is the candidate’s thinking. After all the business the candidate has chosen has a longevity of only 5 years, the business is a very high risk one because of its high probability that it may not continue beyond 5 years, and the costs involved are too high to be recovered within 5 years. So our elected friend makes sure that he does recover all what he wants and more by making several agencies working under him or his party as a team in a very co-ordinated manner to make this tough thing happen. And so they have made a structure and a method that involves everyone right from the lowest clerk to the highest officer and the elected member in this business process of being in politics.

Increase in farm produce price to farmers- directly affects every family.

We understand the predicament of our elected representative.

But our predicament in the process is even more precarious: A stage is coming where if we have to breathe normally we have to pay!

I was in an EB office when this incident happened right in front of my eyes: One lady officer was asking for Rs.10,000 for one signature that she has to put in one of those terrible, many forms. The customer was not that rich so he was begging that lady that he cannot pay that much. At the end he even tried telling her: madam your signature must be the costliest one in the world, tell me why you are charging that much. The lady explained: the chair I am sitting on cost me Rs 50 lakhs and if I have to recover that with the interest I am paying on that loan, unless I charge 10,000 Rs per signature I cannot survive! And please understand I have to recover it within a reasonable time.

Though we can understand why the elected representative becomes or is corrupt from a business perspective, what we cannot understand is his/her failure in the only role we have elected the candidate for, namely to solve the problems faced by our family.

So coming back to the candidate we should vote for, we can talk about two distinct kinds of candidates: one who comes to us once in 5 years several times with the begging bowl for votes, covers us with sweet talk and promises and once elected, vanishes into thin air for another 5 years. In spite of representing our sore problems several times, there is no response from him or his office. Most of them do not even return your call or reply to your mail. Such a candidate belongs to ‘get license to kill once in 5 years’ category. It is easier to spot such candidates because we have to ask him just one question: ‘Sir, can you tell us how you are going to solve our problem?’ For example, take Raga: He has made it a practice just to talk the problems but not in one case he has even outlined a rough method of how he is going to go about.

And then there is the other type, though very few in number. Those who care to be in touch with their electorate, having an office or a system to get feedback on the problems they face and act on and report back to those who had problems. Or at least those who respond to your call for help.

It is not enough to have an on-line system alone, it is the speed of response to your predicament first and then time taken for action and letting you know that matters to you. Such candidates belong to ‘continuously responsive’ category.

Whether the candidate belongs to ‘give me license to kill’ category or ‘continuously responsive’ category is easy to find out: proof of the pudding is in the eating. How has he performed in his previous tints as people’s representative? If the candidate is new, first- time, we have developed a psychometric test battery that tells whether he is good at people service or not. It takes about three and half hours to finish it. We will give a report that he can use during his campaign, if he chooses.

So what makes sense for us electorates is this:

                                                          Parties that focus on family problems – not just societal
                                                                           Yes                                              No
Candidates who have a system       Yes        cell 1              I                         cell 2           
        (responsive over 5 years)

Of getting and acting on feedback --------------------------------I-------------------------------
From their electorate.                       NO         cell 3              I                        cell 4
        ( License to kill candidates)

Note: Parties in the above table includes independents.

Candidates may or may not be affiliated to a party.

Obviously our strategy for voting should be:

Do vote for cell 1 candidates.

Never vote for cell 4 candidates. If all candidates belong to this category, use NOTA.

You may vote for cell 2 candidates who may take enormous trouble to help us or alternatively, do not vote for the candidate to reject the party.

You may vote for cell 3 candidates since there will be a pressure from the party to act on the problems that are directly affecting the families.

This approach has the potential of making our elected representatives more accountable to us than they are today. After all we deserve the Govt. we elect.

What do you feel about this approach?

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