Yes I will not vote this Lok Sabha election. I understand that this one of the most powerful right available to me as a citizen of the world’s largest democracy. But I will not vote.
It is the right of every citizen of India to cast their vote. That’s what my civics textbook told me all those years ago in Standard 8. But I will not vote.
I am as proud a citizen of my country as anyone has ever been. I truly believe that through the power of the vote we can somehow change the destiny of our country. Idealistic as that may sound, it needs a very large number of us to exercise our vote to make the change happen. But I will not vote.
I have had the opportunity to see how smart sensible people can decide to make a change and cast their vote for what they believe is right, and in doing so create history. I saw it on November 04, 2008. But I will still not vote.
I will not vote because as a Non-Resident Indian, I cannot vote. In India, one can vote in person only. No chance of postal absentee ballots, because the concept does not even exist in India.
Would I have voted if it was. Hell, yes I would. You can say that me being away from the country on election day is something thats under my power. And yes I agree, that if I chose, I could have made sure I was in India on that day. And I won’t be.
That however does not change the fact that we as a democracy do not allow absentee ballots. India goes out of its way to welcome back the NRI financial repatriations and even the NRI’s themselves at all the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. We even have a minister for overseas Indians. Why then have we not implemented a mechanism to allow people to vote via the post.
Hopefully this is the last Lok Sabha elections when I will not cast a vote. And in 2014, at the next logical election cycle, absentee ballots may be a reality, or I might be in India.