>The party or the politician?

>Let me begin by making this very clear that I am ill-equipped to comment on the nuances of Indian politics. However, as an Indian citizen living in Lucknow, I feel more than equipped to comment on the candidature of Sanjay Dutt by Samajwadi Party for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat.

There are varying degrees of disapproval on most blogs, but Goofy Mumma’s campaign seems to have picked up momentum in the blogosphere and there is consensus on one thing – that we cannot allow people with criminal records to contest elections in our country.

No arguments there. I support the cause wholeheartedly. No arguments also about the inanity of Sanjay Dutt’s remarks about the status of women, married women in particular, in India.

Yes, I’m with you in condemning a party’s choice when it comes to fielding someone with a murky past like Dutt. But once he’s been declared as their candidate, can we expect Lucknowites to not vote for Sanjay Dutt without examining the credentials of the other candidates contesting the elections? Do you know whom else they can vote for?

I have a huge case against anybody who thinks he can comment on the intelligence of the people of a city or state because they choose to vote for someone. Remember, Lalu Prasad Yadav was voted into power time and again by the people of Bihar and Gujarat chooses Modi each time. Makes the people of the states morons, right?! I read these comments about Lucknowites over at IHM’s blog and they really put me off, to put it mildly.

One comment read:
“So let’s see what’s in favour of Sanjay Dutt as far as the people of Lucknow are concerned:

1. He’s a criminal. I’m sure Lucknow is proud of that fact.

2. He’s a moron. I’m sure they’re even happier about this.

Do you see where my cynicism comes from?”

No, I don’t see. So tell me now this was not being said to me and if I don’t get it, it’s okay. But hey, I’m a Lucknowite and I take offence!

Another comment went something like this:

“Poor Lucknow! But then again, if they do let him win, well they deserve nothing less !!!”

Have you, dear blogger, cared to understand what choice the city’s voters have when they refuse to give SP’s cycle a pass?

Please do not misunderstand me – I’m no defender of Dutt. But I am a defender of choices. And the choice in this case could very easily be between the devil and the deep sea. Pray, tell me, what would you choose – the devil or the deep sea?

And that brings me to my other question: who would you rather vote for – the party or the politician?

In school, I used to be friends with a veteran Congress leader’s granddaughter who slammed the BJP without second thoughts. But she always maintained that Atal Behari Vajpayee was a good leader. It’s not an uncommon sentiment. Sanjay Dutt himself has admitted that he would never have contested elections against Vajpayee but he has no qualms in standing up against the party that Vajpayee belongs to.

Dutt’s opponent in Lucknow from the BSP – Akhilesh Das – has found an ardent campaigner in his friend, my uncle. This uncle of mine doesn’t care what the BSP’s agenda for the Lok Sabha elections is, he only cares his childhood friend should win from Lucknow. If he votes for Das (which he will) he will vote for the politician and not the party.

Let’s assume (ASSUME only) now that I support Modi as a prime ministerial candidate for the BJP. Should I not vote for the BJP in my constituency in that case? Or let’s assume you support the Congress. Would you be keener to ensure the party comes into power or would you be more bothered about the credentials of the politician the party is fielding from your constituency?

If I decide right away to not vote for Dutt, and I decide also I do not want to vote for the BSP, have I not made up my mind to vote for either the BJP or the Congress, irrespective of who their candidates are? Could that be wise?

I told you, the choice is between the devil and the deep sea. Would you rather be drowned than give in to the devil?


21 responses »

  1. >i’ll take devil i think. :p my brain’s too taxed to think of anything else except that u can never be wrong. i agree with u. cent percent. ok bye. thank u. excuse me please. please.

  2. >D this thought did cross my mind… In India it is generally the same situation everywhere, we aren’t given a lot of choice, and very frankly given a choice between BSP and SP I would choose Mulayam Singh government everytime :)The Party I hate without any reservations is BJP and God forbid .. I have to choose … :)For me it would have been SP or Congress.And hey D no offense was meant to the people of Lucknau, I consider myself as much from Lucknau as Bombay, Delhi, Kochi, Kanpur … We fauji types belong everywhere 🙂

  3. >i have been thinking abt it, but i consider myself completely under-qualified to comment. However my take on this is pretty much the same. Its a decision the Lucknowites have to take and live with. And the choice at this point seems clear. I mean, Really,Is he any worse than the candidates from any other party? It is completely a matter of choosing between the devil and the deep sea.

  4. >@Anon: Your first comment here, ain’t it? Thank you.@Roop: Okay, I know you’re capable of thinking more than that when you want to.@IHM: I wasn’t offended by anything you said… just a few comments there that left me irked.@Piper: I’m glad you see my point of view.

  5. >yea, i understand yr conundrumm… rit after saying u will vote for SP… anyways, personally i dont agree with th consensus about criminal record people not being alowed to stand for office.. see.. its th people who vote.. and unless there is booth catching (which isnt th prerogative of the criminal background people) i believe that anybody who gets a majority vote is good enough to rule.. yea, i understand that its logically wrong, but th fact that theyv won means that the majority of people want them, and who are you to judge that? i mean, that is democracy, aint it?regarding sanjay dutts statements, i felt tickled.. he wont stand against vajpayee bcos he is older than him… so, will all indian budding politicians take a cue from him and not stand against someone senior to them? then God bless our country…. and well, anyways, wat does sanjay dutt have in common with vajpayee to show such humility? no, i dont get their point even th least bit… vajpayee has never mentored Dutt…

  6. >and regarding my voting, i usually vote but leave my ballot paper unmarked… this is a valid form of voting.. because a lot of th time, u have to vote for one of the parties or not vote… this is the only form of making a protest vote… and in kerala, u never vote for someone because u like them, u vote only to get the incumbent out… and they dont deserve any better… secondly, in kerala, it never made a difference this far… BJP wud never win… left or congress, it wudnt really change th equations at th centre.. so it didn matter if that vote didn go to anyone.. but this time if im at home, i will vote congres… i think its important to vote AFTER CONSIDERING of th national picture (though yr vote is only one in a million or so in yr constituency.. but NEVER vote for a bad MP

  7. >You’ve asked a pertinent question and I can understand the conundrum you’re in…I think the reason a lot of educated urbannites don’t vote is exactly this reason…Sanjay Dutt wouldn’t have stood against Vajpayee not because he respects that latter but because he would have lost…

  8. >I know exactly what you mean, so we need better options, we need to weed out the criminals completely, make it impossible for them to even enter politics, so that we can have decent choices. We have to fight and revolt, till it is stopped.

  9. >@Avaran: Till we had ballot papers it was easy to not vote for anybody. But with voting machines in place now, that’s not a choice we have anymore. Also, I don’t think because my vote is only one in a million it is irrelevant. Because it is all the single votes that make the millions.@Bones: I agree. Though Dutt says he wouldn’t stand against Vajpayee because he was a friend of his father, I think the reason is that he knows he’d be surely defeated it Vajpayee were to contest elections.@Monika: We should have that option indeed. @GM: We sure do need more people in our parliament who are there for some reason other than filling their coffers!

  10. >yes D, its easy to sit back and judge! and this is one tough call.i guess, i wont vote for a candidate of a party i dont belive in even if i thought the candidate was good! i wont vote for BJP come what may.but sometimes you just never know!cheers!abha

  11. >I came here from Goofy Mama’s blog.The dilemma you face is what most us educated Indian citizens face. We do not have any choice to reject the candidates. http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090081985Our two national parties, BJP and Congress are equally corrupt, so this dilemma keeps arising all the time. 😦 What else can we do?I have today written a post asking that here: http://alchemistpoonam.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/blogging-is-not-only-about-ranting/http://alchemistpoonam.wordpress.com

  12. >@Mampi: I wish I was so clear in my thoughts!@Poonam Sharma: Thanks for visiting. You’re right, we actually don’t have much of an option.

  13. >its always the same choice in the end.. both the big guys are corrupt.. one of them is a extreme pacifist who cant save its people and the other is a religious extremist who’ll hunt down minorities.. devil and the deep sea, indeed.. sad part is, there just doesnt seem to be anything bright coming up in the horizon either.. no ray of hope to look forward to

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