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In our country political frenzy kind of never ceases, but right now it’s taking epidemic proportions with everyone being bitten by the election bug. Discussions, dialogues, debates, WhatsApp messages, Facebook forwards, Insta posts and Tweets are buzzing overtime with opinions and analyses.

Like the deadly Candida Auris, Candida Poll-uris too is feeding off the “weakened immune system” of the citizenry that has been gradually lulled into a state of “immunity” to crime, corruption, harassment, injustice, poverty, inequality, power-games, hatred, irrationality and empathy.

A youngster I bumped into at Dadar last week while cleaning the plastic-laded beach, said “Apna time tab aayega when there are enough higher education opportunities followed by job security and gender justice.

My feminist friend’s social media post therefore urges voters – young and old – to go out and vote for development along with “protection of human rights” as development has no value without these rights. “So study your candidates and their parties and vote right,” she adds. NOTA isn’t an option for her!

Forty-five million odd new voters who will vote in the 17th Lok Sabha elections in our youthful nation across nearly one million polling stations are collectively dreaming the “Developed India 2047” dream. Will our elected representatives be their dream catchers?

But coming back to reality, I am looking at this first image of the Black Hole from the Messiers 87 Galaxy and even though it is 55 million light years away from the Earth, the dense black inner core where light just fails to penetrate is interestingly symbolic of the election process on our Planet, where the Stygian core is the voter’s expectations and hopes usually dashed to perpetual condemnation by the very people they place their trust on.

Yes, generalizations are unfair and painting a whole system with a black brush is conveniently priggish. But the general pre-election mood of uncertainty also stems from hard facts. Years pass, governments change but farmers’ suicides continue. In the age of IT poll yodhas and pro/anti bots, fake news continues to spread malice and intolerance. Joblessness and lack of basic facilities (public transport, clean toilets, education for all, health centres, safety) trigger crime, and the scourge of rapes continue unabated despite agitations. India Today reported just yesterday: “Raped by stepfather, 12-year-old Mohali girl delivers baby, critical.”

In the age of IT poll yodhas and pro/anti bots, fake news continues to spread malice and intolerance. Joblessness and lack of basic facilities (public transport, clean toilets, education for all, health centres, safety) trigger crime.

The obnoxious wooing game still continues in the face of harsh ground reality right under the nose of D watchdog. Go for a movie and there you have political films trying to tug at your vote-strings with the correct PR-scripted theme of sentimentality mingled with self-praise. Sit down to watch TV and all the usual suspects smile away in a loop with folded hands asking, nay demanding your vote. The ear-drum shattering decibels emanating from the so-called “political debates” on news channels easily drown the noise pollution outside.

Mute that sound and you have actor-politicians giving Oscar-winning five-yearly performances that the social media blows out of proportion. Ever wondered HOW a whole bunch of “netas” whose hollow words far outweigh their deeds automatically assume they are made for “politics” and then actually go on to get tickets, contest and win? Only to pop up like seasonal mushrooms every five years, with not much to offer other than ineffectual posturing inside and outside Parliament. Amid all of this, a disillusioned voter from the slums of Mumbai rues the fact that she does not even know whether her vote even goes to the party of her choice, reports The Hindu.

Where are all the real social activists, young change makers, conscientious citizenry, socialist thinkers, political visionaries, earnest workers, educated leaders, revolutionary entrepreneurs and eco soldiers when it’s time to distribute tickets? How come transparency and accountability just drown in the din of power mongering? Why does an all-consuming disillusionment eventually become the very force with which this vicious circle of duplicity goes round once again like everything’s okay? How is it that according to CMIE, unemployment rates are strangely rising with education levels, putting a huge question mark on the future of specialization and skill building?

Where are all the real social activists, young change makers, conscientious citizenry, socialist thinkers, political visionaries, earnest workers, educated leaders, revolutionary entrepreneurs and eco soldiers when it’s time to distribute tickets?

Commenting sarcastically on the general situation everywhere, someone great once quipped, “…there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Now that the “poll is once again in our court” we could either chose to nod along smugly or chuck rhetoric, embrace rationality and work towards a “democracy born anew with every generation… with education as its midwife,” a la reformer John Dewey. Bande, poll teri raza kya hai?

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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