Shimla: Abraham Lincoln said: “The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” Whenever elections come, I am reminded of my defeat by one vote to the class representative’s election in the college. Of course, every single vote has great power as it can change the course of a man, of a village, of a state, and of a nation. After five years, the voters of Himachal Pradesh will have this power again on 9th of November.
As the date of filing of nomination papers for the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections in the state is over, all hustling, jostling, pulling and pushing for the party tickets is over. While to many it was a cry of eureka, to some it was like a bombshell to their aspirations. Babel and clamour for tickets over, the battlelines have been drawn. And now the contesting candidates will come to the voters and will try to entice them using Sam, Dhaam, Dand, Bhed. And dear voters! This is the time when you can exercise the power of your votes. This opportunity comes once in five years and don’t let it go begging. Don’t let these netas and their chamachas go cheaply. Ask them – why should they be voted to power? What happened to the promises they made five years ago?Why there is no teacher for so long in the school where you send your children to get educated with big dreams and hopes in your eyes? Why there is no doctor in the dispensary or hospital in your village? What happened to the road that they had promised to construct? What about their pledges regarding turning the kucha road into pucca one? What happened to the vow that they made regarding bringing water to every house? Also ask them what miraculous things they are going to do in the coming five years to you? Ask about their blueprint for the development of your village and the state. If you are a farmer, ask them how they are going to ensure your welfare. So make them accountable and answerable.
Exercise your vote with wisdom and discretion. They will come to you with flattering words, but you don’t be taken by their juicy slogans because if voters get hoaxed by honeyed words and evil minds, great woes fall on the people of the state. You need not be scared of them as your vote remains a secret if you wish it to be.
Elections belong to you, the voters, not to the leaders. You make them. Why not make good and deserving ones your leaders. If you turn your back to voting, it will soon burn your back. So dear voters! Don’t sit back in your houses on 9th November or you are going to lose a big opportunity. If you don’t vote, someone else is going to make a leader who doesn’t deserve to be there.
Jagdish Bali (is a teacher and a writer of a motivational book ‘The Spark is within you’)