To Our Readers
Star of Mysore will carry articles relating to the forthcoming Karnataka State Assembly Elections periodically to educate and also to inform the voters about the significance of their vote and its value for good governance in our Democracy. It is expected that shortly the calendar of events for the election will be announced. As a harbinger of the election, the political parties in our State have already started campaigning seeking support from the voters to their respective party candidates.
Star of Mysore is publishing the first article in this regard under the title “Countdown for State Assembly Elections” here below. — Ed.
Democracy is a government by consent and the vote is an expression of that consent. Our consent gives legitimacy to the rulers.
What is the meaning of a vote? Firstly, a vote is an expression of implicit Trust. We the People, in whom the ultimate sovereignty resides, hand over a portion of our power to the representative of a political party to rule us, in exchange for certain inalienable rights. They are called Fundamental Rights and are listed in Part III of the Constitution of India.
Secondly, a vote does not merely indicate an electoral choice but is an expression of faith in Constitutional values and norms. It’s also an indication of hope that our lives will change for better by voting for a particular party.
Thirdly, a vote is an assertion of equality. The principle of ‘one man, one vote’ ensures political democracy. B. R. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, however, had serious reservations about whether this top-dressing of political democracy on an extremely unequal and unjust social hierarchy will help bring about true equality. His fears have been proved right.
Fourthly, voting is a fundamental right as well as a duty in a democracy. Voting becomes the most assertive way of inscribing peoples’ presence on the body politic. By showing up in large numbers the people assert their right to be counted and recognised. They remind the powerful elite that they too exist and can determine their fate as rulers.
Fifthly, through our vote, we not only elect a ruling party but also the Opposition, which has an equally important role in a ‘Constitutional republic’, a government governed by the ‘Rule of Law’ and not one that is dictated by the fancies of an autocratic ruler. The Opposition parties enter the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assembly, with equal legitimacy. And it is their duty to hold the ruling party accountable and answerable to the public.
Democracy and Citizenship
What is so important about democracy? It offers the best opportunity for a peaceful transfer of power and prevents the rise of dictatorships or military rule that violently overthrows a regime.
Secondly, it eliminates the fear of being killed, beaten or humiliated for what one says or does in public, either in criticising the ruling party or protesting at what we may consider as ‘anti-people’ legislation. The best example of a successful protest, in recent times, was by the farmers of UP, Haryana and Punjab against the three Farm Laws, for over one year, after which they were repealed by the government. This is the power of democracy.
Thirdly, no other political system considers the people’s views on their needs, wants and goals as democracy does; hence despite its faults, it is the best form of government.
We now realise that voting has not merely an instrumental value but also an intrinsic value for it empowers us with the ability to change our rulers and truly become sovereign citizens.
Here we must note that on 15th August 1947, we all became free men and women from being ‘subjects’ of the British Empire or that of any Princely State, but it was only on 26th January 1950 that we became citizens of a Sovereign Democratic Republic. A citizen is a legally and constitutionally recognised entity with a clear set of Fundamental Rights.
As we head for the upcoming elections to the Legislative Assembly in Karnataka, amidst an extremely polarised and divided society, let us first resolve to exercise our right to vote. And while doing so, let us read the Preamble of our Constitution and vote for the candidate, who is most likely to follow the principles laid down therein.
The SOM is not a neutral commentator.
The current editor Vikram and his father Ganapathy support the BJP, and are such admirers of wife deserter Narendra Modi, that Ganapathy refers to him as Lord Krishna and the corrupt scoundrels Bommai and Yedi as Arjunas.
Vote for the AAP candidates for a change, if you want a clean government .
I don’t think today there are any media organizations which are politically neutral. Earlier at least they used to pretend to be neutral. But in the last few years media has dropped even that show of pretense. Every media organizations openly flaunt their political affiliations. Before we believe any news we need to verify it’s authenticity and intention.