As the Americans brace themselves for the momentous election next month, I can see why Voting is the topic of the month.

After reading an interesting article by Shashi Tharoor, I would like to share some of my thoughts  :

Tharoor correctly points out that the difference in the electoral process between most of the Western world and India is this: those who choose a career in politics in India are either at the very top or bottom of the social pyramid. The bulk of us, the middle-class, or “middle India” are either too busy with our professional lives, or too suspicious/disillusioned/ angry/timid/frightened to even contemplate entering political waters. Contrast this with the US, or the UK, where the middle-class is hugely represented, & is a huge factor in either the success or failure of candidates.

While the reluctance of the middle-class is understandable, it is also lamentable, as the motivations of the our politicians are not necessarily for the greater good of the overall population.

Nevertheless Tharoor holds out hope that as the Indian middle-class bulge in statistics continues to increase, so will the face of politics, a more mature, vibrant leadership. For all our sakes, I hope his prediction comes to pass.

I’d also like to share with you another sticky issue in our politics:

1. Why do we allow coalitions to form government? Such governments are primed to self-destruct from the very outset. All it takes is for one major partner (or a bunch of small ones) to withdraw support, & it’s Humpty-Dumpty time again. All-too-familiar in Goa 😦 

2. Why are politicians allowed to cross the floor, after they’ve been elected on one ticket? Does the anti-defection bill have no bite at all? I get very upset if I’ve voted a politician contesting on party A ticket, and then s/he opts to “support” rival party B. What about all the pre-election rhetoric spewed out by that politician, condemning the very party which he now decides to join? Why do we elect such people again and again, and again? Are we masochists? No, often we have no sensible alternative. As one wag put it, party A is corrupt first, communal second; party B is communal first, corrupt second.

3. What an odd situation we have here, where the very people who can amend the Constitution, so that coalitions are not allowed to form government, are our corrupt greedy politicians themselves. It seems a lost cause. Or is it? Is social activism the new face of Indian politics? Will it make a real difference? Or will it be a paper tiger?

But I’d like to end on a more positive note, and echo what Tharoor’s article headline says: The nation needs principled youngsters         

Only we can make a difference. The time for hand-wringing is long past.