The Gujarat assembly election result suggests that BJP has lost a considerable number of votes and seats to NOTA. With the increasing tribe of NOTA voters, it would be stupid to ignore the NOTA voters and their psychology. Though in current scenario voting NOTA would mean wasting your vote, but a large number of NOTA voters aren’t happy with any candidate.
To understand the psychology behind the idea of voting “None” of the Above, HMP has decided to interview NOTA voters with certain frequency. This is the first interview of the same series.
Bhupendra, 28, who is working in a Group B post in Central Government, an UPSC aspirant with Philosophy, Political Science as his areas of interest has decided to Vote NOTA in 2019 LS polls. Bhupendra likes to read Ram Guha, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Shekhar Gupta and claims to be a Liberal. He has also attended RSS shakhas in childhood & commends some of the humanitarian works of RSS.
Here’s an excerpt of the interview.
HMP Journalist: Welcome Bhupendra! And all the best for your UPSC exam. So Bhupendra, whom did you vote in past elections?
Bhupendra: Except 2014 where I voted for BJP for a change, I have always voted NOTA. Because,.
Firstly, there is very little integrity left to the politicians across the party lines.
Secondly, I crave for pre-1966 days when leaders still had a sense of morality and Gandhian influence over the political class was more or less intact.
HMP Journalist: So are you satisfied with BJP/Modi’s performance?
Bhupendra: I would say Modi Gov performed way better than UPA 2. As far as UPA1 is concerned, the more serious comparison would require to ascertain which government did a better job.
But overall, I would say this government managed well on some fronts like Solar Energy, Ujjwala Scheme, Infrastructure development, economic reforms, NPA etc.. But expectations were surely higher than what have been achieved till now.
I would go by Raghuram Rajan’s advice that India needs to grow at 10% to tide over demographic time bomb and deliver better health, education infrastructure to the masses.
HMP Journalist: Don’t you think UPA1 Government was benefited from growth left by NDA1, and also Capital expenditure (eg. On Infrastructure etc.) by Modi government has been much more than Revenue Expenditure (eg. subsidies, etc.) which would benefit the country more in the long term than short term, whereas UPA had done opposite
Bhupendra: I just said more analysis is required. Anyway, my objections against BJP are absolute, not relative. So, bjp performing better than any other Gov doesn’t wash them up.
HMP Journalist: Whom you are going to vote in 2019 LS ?
HMP Journalist: But if you yourself are admitting that Modi govt has performed better than UPA Government, doesn’t it deserve one more term like voters had given to UPA in 2009?
Bhupendra: I was not the one who “gave” 2 terms to UPA, as simple as that. Even if I had voted for them in the past, as a voter, I have a complete freedom to demand something more or something different from current dispensation.
Anyway, as I said, my objections against current government are not relative. So, BJP doing better than Congress, that too only on economic count, is not sufficient to veer me away from NOTA path.
HMP Journalist: But don’t you think it is going to benefit Corrupt Politicians like Lalu Yadav, Mulayam Singh etc and possibly unstable Government in Centre once again?
Bhupendra: The onus lies on the political parties to provide clean, efficient and inclusive candidates. The onus is not on the voter to worry about whom his choice on the ballot button will benefit. Albeit, I would say BJP or any party for that matter should aspire to come to power for the positive work they did or doing and not ride over the fear of worse option coming to power.
This is not to say that voters do not do the comparative analysis of the candidates or do not do strategic voting for or against some party or candidate, but that a voter has a right, intrinsically connected to the right to vote itself, to decide the standard with which he or she does not wish to compromise in any which way.
HMP Journalist: What defects you see in BJP that you are stubborn to vote NOTA?
Bhupendra: For me, BJP (or all other mainstream political parties for that matter ) has following defects that prevents me from voting for them
A. Fielding candidates with criminal background or cases pending against them.
B. Insufficient emphasis on the inclusivity of political discourse.
C. Some seriously incompetent ministers at the center (do not wish to name them).
D. Some outrageously divisive figures at the helm of the affairs.
E. Lack of transparency in the electoral funding.
F. Ideological disagreement (does not wish to elaborate)
G. Open interference of an extra-constitutional organisation in the workings of the government.
I. Over-dependence on central leadership to win elections. I want my MP or MLA to qualify in all the tests I have mentioned here. I am not going to vote by looking at who is going to be the Prime Minister anymore.
I may be prepared to overlook some of the above defects if the current government delivers around 10% growth or at least appears to be moving in that direction since, I believe, one, economic growth lifts everyone with it, two, political exclusion can be compensated to some extent by increased prosperity of the masses.
HMP Journalist: But 10% Growth is not realistic in the current global scenario, even China is far away from achieving it.
Bhupendra: China is past its prime. So, the comparison is not valid.
10% growth doesn’t compensate for all the defects. And defects are so grave in my opinion that only 10% growth may make me think about voting for BJP.
If that seems a bit over the top target, remember, the defects are graver than that.
The best way is to rectify all the defects I mentioned and I would vote for BJP.
Until that happens, I would like to stick to NOTA.
As described by Garibon ka Economist Ashutosh Muglikar , Bhupendra fits into the definition of ATUL (All time Udaas Liberal). BJP is going to have a very difficult task convincing such voters, who have very unrealistic expectations from the party. One thing that clearly comes out of the interview is that BJP has not adequately informed the public about the work done on the economic front, and UPSC aspirants unaware of these economic steps or reforms are a matter of concern.
Get real time update about this post categories directly on your device, subscribe now.