Pressing the button - once in five years

While democracy vests in people the right to vote, there are many people who prefer not to exercise their franchise. My father was one, though he was a very erudite teacher.

He had contempt for politicians, though he was never vocal about it. He always felt politicians were poor role models for the citizens, especially the youngsters.

There are many who share that view. Even I do. So, I always wondered if I should vote or not. Most politicians are always busy "playing politics" rather than governing.


When I turned 21 and became eligible to vote, I decided to go out and choose the representative of my area. I was in Kerala then. Though I shared the cynism of the democratic process, the reason I cast my ballot was I wanted to know how it was like inside a polling booth and how it felt like having voted.

A few years later, I left the state for the north of the country when I got my first job. After that, I didn't vote for many years, since I never took the trouble to enrol myself as a voter in the places I lived.

The next time I voted was many years later when I moved to Bengaluru. (On November 1, 2014, the city changed its anglicised name of Bangalore to its original name in the local language.)


The reason I voted for the state assembly elections was, I thought voting is the simplest and the easiest way (and probably one of the most important ways) to keep the democratic system of governance alive.

When I accuse the politicians of not having done their job, I should have done mine, is it not?

Especially when it is so easy to actually go to the voting station and make the choice, though choosing whom to vote might not be as easy.

I have exercised my franchise in all the elections since then, including on April 23 when Bengaluru voted in the third phase of the general election that is currently on. One more phase is remaining. That is on May 19.

The process has become easier and simpler over the years, and the Election Commission and the federal government should be given due credit for ensuring that the whole process -- right from enrolling oneself in the voters' list to finding the voting station to actually casting the vote -- is a breeze.


Voting is not compulsory in India, where the votes are cast electronically -- the voter presses the button against the name of the candidate on an electronic voting machine, commonly called here as the EVM.

The once-in-five-years national elections to choose a new parliament is being held in seven phases over one and a half months, considering the enormous scale of the exercise -- there are as many as 900 million voters -- the biggest in the world.

We will know the results on the 23rd of this month. We will know which party will get the majority in parliament and who will be the next prime minister.


Have you voted? Do you always have good candidates to choose from?

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