INDIA THAT IS BHARAT
SATIRICUS considers himself the quintessential aam aadmi. With elections round the corner, that makes him the pillar of our electoral democracy. He is the valuable voter. At the moment of reckoning he will scrutinise the list on the EVM in the polling booth, select the candidate he will elect, and push the button. He will exercise his prerogative of choice. Of course, the contestants will be choice politicians, so the choice won t be easy. Decades of democracy have shown voter Satiricus that there is always an abundant assortment of crooks to choose from as his rulers, so he must choose with care.
But what if Satiricus does not find a single candidate with credible credentials as a qualified crook? That is the question. Fortunately, it seems there may soon be an answer. To the long list of buttons the EVM may have an additional button at the bottom marked NOTA, meaning “None Of The Above”. That would be a fantastic facility. For if, as columnist Pritish Nady once pointed out, our accomplishment is to elect a parliament—and constitute a government out of the MPs we elect—of rascals, robbers and rogues, we need to know if every candidate possesses the requisite standing in that rogues gallery. But what if none of them qualify? Then the decision should be “None of the Above”. So Satiricus has started thinking of not whom he will elect, but whom he will not elect. In fact, he has already drawn up a list of the types of candidates undeserving of his valuable vote:
Candidate A: Disqualified at first sight. And why must the poor fellow be so summarily dismissed? Exactly because he is that—a poor fellow, not a rich one. Look at his assets declaration. So many years in politics, and still a measly millionaire. Why is he not at least a mere multi-millionaire, better still, a billionaire? Clearly such an incompetent fellow doesn t deserve Satiricus s vote.
Candidate B: The number of times he has changed his party can still be counted on the fingers of Satiricus s hands. That means his expertise in this vital area is still not developed enough for Satiricus to touch his toes for numbering.
Candidate C: The man s a miserable miser. He had tried to bribe Satiricus with a few paltry hundred rupees. Does Satiricus s valuable vote have such a low value? “Vote for note” is a sacred principle of electoral democracy, and its sanctity must not be sullied by a disreputable denomination of that note.
Candidate D: This fellow has a criminal case against him for attempted murder but he is not yet convicted, which shows he is not a man of conviction. More importantly, it shows he cannot carry out what he attempts; he is a failure.
Candidate E : This man s a fake secularist. He does not say Mumbai was attacked by RSS terrorists, does not hold VHP responsible for the Kedarnath floods, nor does he even admit that Muslims are the first citizens in secular India.
Candidate F : This fellow is a really weird specimen of voting humanity. He suffers from many abnormalities. For instance, he actually needs more than one rupee for a meal. He is under the illusion that the Prime Minister is the head of the government, not the Prime Mover. He thinks a leader should not incessantly chant he is a follower. Finally and funnily, he asserts that a man should manfully stand and walk on his feet, and not creep and crawl like some creepy-crawly every time some bully growls at him. All in all, a most unsuitable candidate for an Indian voter like Satiricus.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan recently suggested—quite seriously, it seems to Satiricus— that from now onwards the UPA government should send all bills and ordinances to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to do a “sense check” before getting them passed. Well, now, that is surely a sensible suggestion, but will Rahul be able to spare the time to do that every time a law is to be made? Satiricus doubts. So how about designing a sense-metre? Rahul could install such an automatic machine in his office, where a peon could insert every bill made by the government and sent for final certification into it for the mandatory metre-reading. If the machine passes the bill it could be automatically transferred to a duplicating machine with an “Approved” stamp; if not, it would equally automatically be inserted in a paper-shredding machine which would efficiently tear it into pieces and deposit them into a waste paper basket. An automatic government, so to say. And so convenient. In fact, Rahul won t even have to employ an extra peon to run the machine. The PMO could send him its prime peon.
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