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While all 52 Sundays of a year are special, the next one, May 12, is much more so for Delhiites. It is the day when Delhi gets to decide who are the chosen 7, whom it sends to legislate on its behalf to the Loksabha. For those of you who are not in the know- Delhi votes for the General Election 2019 from 7 am to 6 pm on Sunday, May 12, 2019. This article is an attempt to encourage the people of Delhi in general and youth in particular to vote in large numbers and vote consciously.

Vote, but why??

Delhi and Mumbai have always been locked in a game of one-upmanship, and Mumbai has already fired the first salvo by notching a poll percentage of 55.1%, now the ball is in Delhi’s court to up the ante. Light hearted banter apart, vote, because it is the right thing to do, vote, because whatever station of life you are in, your vote plays an important part in more aspects of how your life than you can imagine.

Don’t believe so? From the tax you pay when you go out to eat (5% FYI, reduced after revision to the GST) to the highway you take a long drive on (construction of which has been happening at a greater rate than ever before in the last 5 years), every-where the shadow of the government lurks loud. Government policy literally impacts your life every second- how pure the air you breath 24*7*365 is, is pretty much a factor of government policy- some take Tughlaqi steps like Odd-Even only to back off later, while others take visionary, sustainable action like peripheral express-ways (constructed in record breaking time) to de-clog Delhi and prevent a lot of truck fumes from accumulating in Delhi.  Even if you are among those setting your eyes on going abroad for further studies, you can’t escape the long hands of the government- ask several hundreds of Indian citizens stranded abroad who got help by way of a simple tweet to the External Affairs Minister (again something not imaginable 5 years ago).

I am Registered Voter, but do not know Where is my designated Polling Booth?

In today’s Digital India, even the Election Commission has gone hi-tech and made available the details of the polling booth for every voter on the website: The ECI has also come out with a voter friendly app through which the above information can be accessed on your fingertips- As the techno-friendly youth of the nation, it is incumbent upon us to not only access information related to our own polling booths, but also help friends, relatives and neighbours in finding theirs.

What to Keep in Mind while Deciding whom to Vote For?

From jingles on radio, newspapers with full page ads by various political parties to TV debates and even recorded telephone calls by a CM spreading hoaxes , it can indeed be a difficult, more so for first time voters, to make up your mind on the million dollar question- whom to vote for? A simple suggestion is to keep all propaganda and what parents, peers etc say at bay and think for yourself while keeping the following in mind:

Remember the heady days of 2011-12, when corruption scandal after corruption scandal rocked the nation and brought out the youth of Delhi protesting on the street? Is it good or bad, that instead of corruption figures touching the sky and bettering their own past records, in the past five years, India has literally touched the sky and entered the elite club of space powers by carrying out Mission Shakti? Other arenas where India has been setting records is economic growth, elimination of open defecation by construction of toilets in every house (a step which saved lakhs of lives), providing electricity to every village and so on.

Also ask your elders about the situation 10 years ago, when serial bomb blasts killing and injuring innocent citizens was a routine affair, and what’s worse was the inability of the erstwhile leadership to take any concrete steps to punish the perpetrators choreographing these ghastly attacks from across the border. Is it good or bad, that in the past 5 years, no such dastardly incident has happened in Delhi or any other city of India and we no longer have to fear for our lives in the metro, in the malls or markets? Not even the best of the goalkeepers in football has such a perfect record to match the stupendous job done by the intelligence machinery over the past 5 years to keep India safe. Moreover, whenever the enemy, frustrated by its ability to strike in the heart of India, has attempted any misadventure in the border regions, India has shown alacrity in its response and has come down heavily on the perpetrators, even if they were hiding in enemy territory- as shown by the cross border surgical strikes or air strikes. So, vote keeping in mind how secure your family has been feeling over the past 5 years.

And remember this is an election to choose the government whose policies will apply all over India and the collective actions of the government would impact your life much more than that of an individual Member of Parliament. It sounds very cool and supposedly intellectual to say stuff like, ‘I will vote only based on who the candidate from my area is’ or ‘All candidates are bad, so I will vote for NOTA’. But in reality, either of these positions have very little impact. All MPs of a particular party are bound by the party, when it comes to taking positions on matters of national interest in the Parliament and if they do violate it, they end up getting disqualified as per the provisions of the Anti Defection Bill. Likewise, the NOTA provision is a toothless one, it can get you brownie points of being a sophisticated (pseudo) intellectual, but little else (Quoting from another article-“The NOTA option on EVMs has no electoral value. Even if the maximum number of votes cast is for NOTA, the candidate getting the most of the remaining votes would be declared winner,” the EC official told). No point voting for something which is going to have zero impact, isn’t it? Is it not better to vote for the candidate whose party’s policies and PM candidate (or higher-level leadership, interestingly enough apart from the incumbent, no other party has dared to name a PM candidate), you feel is best suited to deliver a stable government which puts India on the path of all-round progress?

In a nutshell- vote and vote wisely, because you don’t want that ‘Gunde aake aapki MAAR-LEIN, (hai) NA?

Dev Desai

Budding Medico @AIIMS. Avid newspaper reader (follow politics keenly; NaMo fan), foodie and an enthusiastic dabbler in the magical 'World of Words!'

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