Voice Of Our Vote

People have spoken and the verdict has been served. Numbers paint a picture that people of our country have latched on to the hope of “ache din” with both hands. Let us delve deeper into the results of the general election and see how much of that is true. Whether the masses have truly flocked the idea of pan India implementation of “Gujarat Model” or it’s just an aberration or a lucky roll of dice that shall determine the destiny of 1.2 billion people.
After every general elections there is hue and cry for an in depth analysis of first past the post system and its implications in our country. Also, there is a demand for debate on Proportional Representation as a more natural choice for our sophisticated nation. Such demands, for obvious reasons, generally stem from opposition parties. For instance, let us take the 2014 electoral scenario. As per our current system, FPTP, BJP has won 282 seats and congress a mere 44. It seems as if the people of our nation have utterly rejected INC and gave rousing mandate to BJP. Looking at the vote share of 2 parties, for barely 60% more votes, BJP has won whopping 540% more seats. The fact that BJP’s 31.3% is the lowest vote share for any single party or alliance to attain a majority gives a certain amount of legitimacy to those demanding for Proportional Representation system.
In a country as diverse as India, the merits of PR system are plenty. Firstly, it will give a voice to each and every vote which will boost the voter morale increasing turnouts. Regional parties that are often unable to convert votes into seats will be the biggest beneficiaries. One example of such a party this time around is BSP. It has a vote share of 4.2% which is third highest after BJP and INC but still a zero to show for a seat. BJP which single handedly has a majority will be limited to a meagre 169 seats in PR system. So to say that FPTP is an absolutely accurate representation of public opinion is grossly inaccurate.
Criticizing FPTP without looking at the imperfections of PR would be naïve. As pointed above, even with a significant “Modi Lehar”, BJP seems to fall short of majority by a very significant number. But if we consider a worst case scenario, well actually a scenario of past 25 years, that the major national parties don’t have a significant leader with national pull, the PR will bring forth a highly broken mandate. So much that even the two biggest parties, combined, would be unable to put together the magic number. The ramifications of such a distribution are far graver than one sees in FPTP. One also has to consider that on national canvas, PR promotes regionalism and factionalism which are both highly unwanted. PR system has actually been considered by the minds who drafted the constitution. After all, the election of Upper House members is done through PR system of single transferable vote. But there are valid reasons why it was not extended to the lower house.


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