How Should Urban Educated Middle-Class Indians Vote

No doubt, we, the educated urban middle class are sensible. When it comes to personal choices, we are very particular – we want to stay in a decent locality, we want our kids to study in good schools and we want them to get settled in good jobs. But the sad reality is, we don’t realize the fact that all these things will be possible only through active participation in voting the right political candidate.

Politics is a natural manifestation of engaging with the society to shape the future and keep the society focused on a few important priorities. Despite being well-educated and having good exposure, we hardly discuss any political issues nor decide on a good candidate. We have intelligence, we have time, but we never really try to evaluate the political landscape properly. The result, either we don’t vote or we often vote the wrong candidate.

As Plato rightly quotes, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

It’s time to leave our old habits and deep seated attitudes and look for ways to vote in such a way that our vote count towards progress and development. Remember every vote counts and a single vote has the power to shape our future.

Here are a few things that will help you make a difference in these elections.

Be politically savvy
This is a first step towards establishing a connection with the current political situation. As discussed earlier in the article, we are well aware of most of the issues. But when it comes to politics we are disconnected. We don’t know what is happening in our own parliamentary constituency. So, let us stop being politically ignorant. Let’s know our constituency, its limits, contesting members, etc., to make the right call.

You may like to read: Know Your Constituency and Contenting Candidates

Learn group dynamism – Understand the power of groups
India is a large country, it’s difficult to reach each and every candidate. So, politicians prefer to work on a group of votes rather than canvassing for individual votes. Any politician is likely to respond better to 10 votes than to 1 vote, 100 votes than to 10 votes, 1,000 votes than to 100 votes. Therefore, in order for us to make our vote count, it is necessary to form a good group.

For instance, if you are staying in an apartment which has around 30 flats where there are 80-100 people who are eligible for voting. You can easily form a group and decide which candidate to vote for.

Participate in meaningful debates
What do you really want political leaders to do? What are the things that mean the most for you? Politicians need aggregation of needs or issues to be made concrete and specific before they show interest.

Once you form a group take some time out to have a meaningful discussion. Remember discussions/debates should not be like the typical debates that we watch on TV channels. Debate means to discuss till you come to an agreement. Learning from each other and evolving a superior solution. Discussions and constructive debates will be helpful in identifying the major needs of your group.

Understand the power of collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between two groups. In politics it will be between group of voters and contesting candidates. Since you have already formed a group, use the same thing to do collective bargaining. The result will be collective agreement (agreed by everyone in the group).

  • Better understanding and clarity of needs is essence for collective bargaining: Before participating in collective bargaining the group should have good understanding and should be clear about their needs. However, agreeing on something in a group is something that does not happen automatically. Most of the educated middle class, just want to feel smart, make a smart comment and take great pains to disagree with anything else. So make sure to eliminate this and come to a common agreement in order to participate in collective bargaining.
  • The bigger the group the higher the influence: The effect of collective bargaining in politics depends on the size of the participating group. If you form a large group, you are likely to have more ability to influence.
  • Example of collective bargaining: With those 80-100 people who are eligible for voting in your apartment, you can approach two or three contesting candidates in your locality and tell them that from your apartment they will get around 80-100 votes. Ask them what they can do for the progress of your locality like repair of the roads, parks, street lights, etc. Based on the candidate’s commitment, your group can collectively vote. This is collective bargaining.

Understand how politicians behave – Remember they won’t wrestle with pigs
Politicians like those who vote, and have no inclination to serve people who are not part of their voting public. If any issue happens among voting public, they visit them and make sure that they are in the vote bank.

  • Educated middle class – Neither good for votes nor for notes: Politicians always have a distorted view about the middle class. They consider them as problem-class. Neither good for votes nor for notes.

Avoid problem behaviours
As mentioned earlier, politicians don’t want to deal with people having problem behaviours, so try to avoid such behaviours.

  • Stop being armchair intellectual: We tend to talk big. We will have great ideas about politics, policies, etc., but we fail to do basic things like choosing a right politician and voting. So, let us stop being arm chair intellectuals and start doing what we can do.
  • Stop disagreeing on everything – Don’t look for perfection: No one is perfect. If you want everything to be perfect it won’t work out. Everyone has their own strengths and weakness and everything has its own pros and cons. So, try to look at things objectively, and stop disagreeing on everything.
  • Have big picture mind-set – Avoid tunnel vision: We tend to look at things at personal level. Thinking through a tunnel vision prevents us from looking at the big picture. It prevents us from making sensible choices. So be aware of various things and have a broader perspective.

Remember Plato’s advice – “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.

For urban educated middle-class people no miracle happens on its own. They have to be sensible while voting and stop thinking it as a burden. By voting without fail and sensibly they can elect a leader who could settle their issues and do good for them.

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