The Indian voters’ wishes, hopes and helplessnessMarch 15th, 2009 - 11:52 am ICT by IANS
By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) Saraswati Devi, a 28-year-old domestic help, doesn’t have many expectations from the Lok Sabha elections. She harbours just one hope - that the winner would ensure that prices of basic food don’t shoot through the ceiling.
“I am not bothered which party comes to power as long as it guarantees that the prices of necessities like onions don’t go beyond the reach of a common person like me,” Saraswati Devi told IANS.
“I earn only about Rs.1,000 a month. Last year I had to feed my children a bland meal of roti and dal for many days because I couldn’t afford to buy tomatoes at Rs.50 for a kilo. I will vote with the hope that I don’t have to suffer such a hard time again,” she said.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held during April 16-May 13. In the national capital, polling for seven parliamentary seats will take place May 7. Most people have varied expectations from the electoral battle.
For school teacher Rashmi Dey, the election should be a harbinger of change, what with a number of young faces in the fray.
“Finally, political parties seem to be seeing sense and giving more seats to youths. That brings about a lot of hope for citizens like me who are tired of seeing the same old faces and reading about one corruption case or the other they are involved in,” Dey said.
“With more youth participation, politics will hopefully get a more clean image and more importantly a fresh perspective to issues,” she said. “Personally I really like Rahul Gandhi - he is someone I can relate to.”
What change is Dey looking forward to? Pat comes the reply: “Better infrastructure and no compromise on education being made a right for every child.”
Rahul Jain, a college student and first time voter, is eagerly awaiting polling day. But he is sick and tired of rhetoric.
“I am a sportsperson and I am glad that former cricketers like (Mohammed) Azharuddin have joined politics. They will do much better work than most politicians,” he said.
Jain feels that with a large number of young voters this year, positive developments can be expected.
“Like me, a number of my friends have become eligible to vote. We have vowed to exercise our right to choose our MP. I am sure we will see some change in the political scenario in our lives,” Jain said.
Like many in his age group, Jain is not asking anything for himself. He wants the security forces to be supplied sophisticated weapons and bullet proof jackets and more vessels for the Coast Guard - promises that were made after the horrific Mumbai terror attack in November.
However, there are people like Rasika Sharma who are not convinced that their vote will herald worthwhile changes.
“Call me a cynic but I don’t think my vote really matters. I am 30 and from what I have seen till now, all promises of change are just a facade. At the end it’s the same old faces that come to power and things remain where they are,” she said.
(Azera Rahman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )
Tags: azera, common person, corruption case, dey, domestic help, electoral battle, helplessness, lok sabha elections, mohammed azharuddin, old faces, parliamentary seats, polling day, rahul gandhi, rahul jain, roti, rs 50, saraswati, seeing sense, sportsperson, youth participation