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Whenever elections are approaching, be it the General Elections for electing representatives in the Parliament, or the College Elections for electing representatives in the Students’ Council, there are numerous campaigns which aim to promote the respective political parties and spread awareness about the power of voting- that we as the common people have the power to select our leaders, and therefore, it is imperative that we vote. But, what if all the political parties appear so worthless to an individual that he/she abstains from voting? Is the individual right in doing so?
On 26th August, GGDSD College, Sector 32, Chandigarh, conducted elections for the academic year 2015-16. The turnout of the voters was greater than last year. But I did not go to vote, simply because for me, none of the presidential candidates appeared convincing, and no political party seemed fit to form the Students’ Council. And I will give proper reasons for justifying my abstention:
1. The not-so-peaceful clashes- Just a week before the elections, there was a quarrel in our college canteen between SDCU (Sanathan Dharma College Union) and SOI (Students’ Organization of India) supporters regarding the election manifesto of SOI. And in that quarrel, one of the SOI supporters broke a glass bottle on the head of an SDCU supporter. Consequently, the police had to be called and the classes in college were disrupted. The next day, this news was all over the popular newspapers, which in turn tarnished the image of our college. If these so- called leaders can’t resolve their disputes peacefully, how can we entrust the responsibility of the entire college on their shoulders?
2. The filthy election campaigns (quite literally)- All the political parties campaign by distributing stickers bearing their party’s name to the students, especially the gullible first- year students. The students, in turn throw these stickers on the ground and dirty the college premises.
Moreover, during the Nomination Day, when the representatives of the parties are given a clean chit, the supporters of each of the political parties throw the stickers in the air and shout the names of their parties as celebrations. They not only dirty the entire canteen, but make
the intervention of the police inevitable, thereby giving the college a bad name once again. The dirt that they spread is cleaned by the sweepers later. How can such reckless individuals be able leaders?
3. Posters galore- Our college authorities don’t allow the political parties to put up posters in the college premises. So, the parties put the posters on the wall opposite to the entrance of the college! And if this wasn’t sufficient,
they also put up posters in entire Chandigarh, in places as far as sector 8 (from Sector 32). Outside most of the shops in the market of Sector 32, you could spot the faces of the President, Vice- President, Chairman and General Secretary of each political party! Moreover, one party blackened the face of a candidate of a rival party in the posters! How unethical was this act! These posters not just disturb the beauty of Chandigarh, but also defame the political parties and the college. One more reason not to vote for anyone.
4. Drama on the election day- On the day of the polling, once you enter college, you can notice something sprayed on the walls outside college.On looking closely, you will find the names of the presidential candidates and their panel codes sprayed on the walls! Also, groups of the supporters
of various parties throw their stickers in the air and chant the names of their parties. These stickers, again, would be cleaned by the sweepers. This not just spoils the aesthetic beauty of the college, but also reflects the poor civic sense of the parties. And I believe that such people won’t
cater to the development of any institution. So rather than voting an unfit Students’ Council to power, it is better not to vote for anybody.
5. The unending blame- games- Throughout the campaigns, all the political parties keep on blaming each other for anything and everything. The winning party from the previous year claims to have worked in numerous areas in its ruling year, and the other parties keep on
blaming that party for not doing any work that year. This leaves everybody so confused, that people generally vote for a party in the influence of their friends, or if their friends are contesting in the elections, which, again, is not just unethical, but immoral, and defeats
the very purpose of elections. Rather than mindlessly casting votes, students should analyze the different parties, and then vote or not vote.And if the parties keep on blaming each other without making a plan to work for the development of the college, then there’s no point in voting for anyone, again.
College elections are conducted in order to instill the values of democracy in the youth. And students are supposed to compete with one- another in the spirit of democracy- without hurting the sentiments of others and upholding the name of the institution in which they are studying. If the parties maintain the prestige of the institution, campaign without dirtying their environment, resolve their disputes peacefully and follow a disciplined code of conduct, then each election will witness 100% polling.
Otherwise, students like me would be disillusioned with the elections and won’t exercise their right to vote.
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