What you see and what you imagine can co-exist… not always in a peaceful way, but they can tolerate each other’s presence, I’m sure. So just as voters imagine some promised future, the politician sees them all as distinct groups of people to be sold different dreams. The vital question then is: Who really votes? A voter who imagines he is voting for his dreams or a voter who sees and knows the person he is voting for?

Who is ignorant and who is knowledgeable are factors that aren’t really easy to identify. If Kejriwal wants to enlist students, there will be some political party wanting to woo the minorities, or another going after the under-privileged sections. The politicians and the parties have advisors telling them all about USPs and what their TG should be in a particular State or even constituency. Catchment areas are notified and an action plan is decided upon. Every move becomes more akin to a war with the principles of management strutting around like soldiers in OGs.

Area profiles are drawn up and analysts go berserk trying to decipher numbers and percentages that innumerable polls throw up. The world, just before a nation goes to poll, is reduced to a stage where along with abuses and allegations, lots of complex numbers and the jargon of pollsters are flung at each other… yes, the BJP does it in its own saffron style, the Congress does it as experienced wily foxes do, and all the other parties run around deciding on who will be a foe and who will remain an ally.

Everyone… and I repeat, everyone forgets the voter. No, they don’t wait until the elections are done with and the voter is back in his home with thoughts of what the new dawn might get for him… they do it even as he stands on the street wondering if he is really needed to play this vital role in this periodical drama that is staged? Was it always like this? Well, the proliferation and the extension of the ways in which news is percolated has made sure that the drama has become more intense, more open, and bolder. Euphemisms have long been forgotten… the world of politicking before elections doesn’t encourage subtleties and the finer nuances of back-room politics is a thing of the past.

Elections are now battlefields where strategic intent and tactical manoeuvres are nothing but an all-out-force to reach some powerful number equation. Games are played in the real as well as the virtual world… but hey, where is the voter in all this hullaballoo?

Yes, where is the voter? But then, don’t we all get to read that the percentage of voters has been increasing from election to election… and that the incidence of vote hijacking is almost over… and that more and more people are coming out and sharing their picture with their election mark on Facebook… and that people are animatedly discussing their choices on twitter… and that voters are also blogging and sharing their concern for all to read and reach the right consensus. If all this is happening, why are we still ending up with governments that don’t govern… and leaders who don’t lead?

But let me focus on the voter for a few sentences now… who votes? Do the minorities vote as minorities? Does caste vote as castes? Does age vote as a mere age? Do issues vote as issues? No. It is people who vote… and people cannot be compartmentalised so easily… they are a complex mix of thoughts, ideologies, age, and issues… and it is this complex enigma that steps out to vote.

I hope this time when this complex enigma called a voter, steps out, he or she just knows how to differentiate between fiction and the real fiction!

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Arvind Passey
Published in ‘The Education Post’ dated 10 June 2013