For long, we have not understood our vote. At one level, it is actually irrational for us to vote. Our single vote makes no real difference in the outcome of an election – unless both the leading candidates have exactly the same number of votes, and you go out and cast the decisive vote. In general, our vote will either add to someone’s winning margin or reduce someone else’s winning margin.
Why then do people vote?
There are many reasons. According to me, the two reasons are a sense of duty and the hope for a direct personal benefit. In the first case, it is important to study the contesting candidates, understand their positions on various issues, and then decide. In reality, we end up voting on the basis of a symbol (as loyalists of a party). Candidates are thrust on us by party high commands just days before elections are to take place. There is little or no time to understand candidates. In some cases, candidates are not even local residents.
In the second case, the reason for voting is much more easily understood – it is a transaction. It could be monetary – in the form of cash paid before and/or after voting. It could be a veiled threat or a promise of security. Or it could be an expression of identity. In all cases, voting is driven by self-interest.
Nayi Disha understands the numbers and logic behind voting. Two-thirds of voters (67 crore) are not loyal supporters of a party. They comprise of non-voters, undecided voters and voters who opt for small parties and independent candidates who have little hope for winning. In this two-third majority lies the opportunity to transform India in the next election.