Every time He-Man wants to take on an any, he rises up his hands and proclaims “I have the power”. The rickshawallah, coolie, illeterate agricultural labour and street vendors of India became He-Man on 16 May 2014. They raised their hands in unison and proclaimed that THEY HAVE THE POWER. Stunning, stupefying and blowing to smithereens a government that had held sway over their destinies for ten long years. Good, bad and the ugly – all of them – lock, stock and barrel – who were smug in the belief that the illiterate average Indian was happy listening to the stock song of caste, community and personal mud slinging – were routed beyond belief. The voter has proved that however high and mighty a politician be, voter is king!! This is not just a political victory for a party, it is the most authentic demonstration that PEOPLE are the actual power in a democracy.
There are quite a few note-worthy achievements in the General Elections of 2014:
1. Held over 09 phases, in 900000 polling booths across the country to enable 814 million people who are eligible to vote. There simply is no parallel anywhere else in the world and we are confident that this is one area that China would not like to compete with India.
2. 1647 Parties (national/regional/recognised/registered) directly participating and/or involved in the mammoth effort to reach every section of the populace. The second biggest democracy, USA, has just 02 Parties. We have one for every 700000 population on an average!!
3. Over 8100 candidates were in the fray for 543 seats.
4. The average turn out till now has varied between 56 – 63% from 1952 onwards. Some places like the North East had over 83% turn out for voting. Surprisingly, the ‘kurukshetra’ of elections UP, showed the lowest turn out at 55%.
5. 100 million new voters this time – all in the 18-20 age group. Young India was actually having a say.
6. Introduced for the first time, NOTA (None of The Above) option in the EVM, upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, grossed 1.1% of the vote share. Can you believe that this is more than what the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Janata Dal United (JDU) polled together!! This is the voice of people against corrupt local politicians. Hope political parties, both victorious and vanquished, take note.
7. The mandate given to Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal are also interesting. Strong functioning State Chief Ministers have been preferred by people and the usual ‘anti-incumbency’ factor is missing. Not that these CMs are without their share of corruption/other scandals but their thumping victory is testimony to the peoples preference for governments that deliver. It appears that people want strong and functioning governments; they are fed up with ineptitude and empty talk on peripheral issues. Even BJP victory becomes easily comprehensible when viewed from this perspective.
On the whole, a historic episode with profound impact on peoples lives. The heroes likely to remain unsung of this story are not actually the politicians who contested/lost or the citizens who have made their choices. It is the Chief Election Commissioner of India and his deputies/assistants and the millions of school teachers, revenue officials, policemen and other support staff who have conducted the biggest exercise of democracy in human history till date without a single glitch, incident or unsavoury interruption. They not merely need to be complemented on their humongous achievement but merit the gratitude of the entire nation as well from the proponents and advocates of democracy elsewhere in the world. CEC, we salute you!!