How to Get Involved in Politics – Evaluate the Candidate Well

Before getting into the topic, I would like to share some memories about my grandfather (don’t worry, they are related to politics). As the election date would drew closer, my grandfather would get deeply involved in it – he would hold discussions with family members, relatives, friends (his morning walk friends) and community members. The topic of discussion would be, what are the qualities you are looking for in our next political leader and on what basis will you evaluate the candidate?

People used to come up with their own view points, some were practical, and some were not. He first allowed people to speak and after listening to them, he spoke. In this article, I have tried to summarize some of his view points and also on a broader picture how to evaluate the candidate before you vote.

Thought this would serve you as a checklist while you are evaluating a political candidate – watch out for people/political parties trying to influence you. The streets of Hyderabad today are flooded with wannabes making promises and trying to win the hearts of people.

Background of the candidates contesting
Before choosing a political leader, you should have a brief overview of his strengths, ideology, loyalty to serve people and his moral standards. Also, be aware of his weaknesses, but don’t reject the candidate purely on the basis of some weaknesses – not everybody is perfect.

Past behaviour
Time and again we have seen elected politicians abusing the power vested in them. Get his past facts checked and based on the facts you can judge the candidate. Facts like, was there any development in his constituency, how he handled success in politics earlier, how he served people and whether the candidate is approachable (easily accessible) after getting elected.

While judging the candidate’s past behaviour, consider his standard of conduct, initiative and persistence in pursuing the completion of projects that were beneficial for his constituency. Does he keep his commitments and promises on a consistent basis?

Nature of the person
Know about the candidate’s behaviour and attitude. Know how objective oriented he is (will he stick to what he is promising?). Check if he has servant leadership qualities – puts the needs of his people first and serves them.

Virtues, values and conscience
Look for the candidate’s virtues (wisdom, courage, prudence, honesty, and service-orientation), moral values (responsibility, equality, fairness) and conscience (ethical values, sense of right and wrong).

Does the candidate have any limitations? Is the candidate limited in his ability to handle issues and get things done for people? Having a closer look at the candidate’s limitations, you will be able to judge for yourself whether or not to vote the candidate.

His ideology
An ideology is a set of beliefs or ideas of the candidate. Check for the candidate’s political ideologies, like, for instance does he believe in welfare state. Does he respect the Constitution and rule of law?

Career politician
Check if he is a career politician. Career politician is the one who works in politics until retirement. Not the one who quickly tries to come into power and abuse it as much as he can to make personal gains? Political leaders are not above the law. They cannot manipulate the law for their personal gains.

Is the person accountable for the job he has to do? It is not just to implement the decisions made by higher authorities from his party. He has to consult people of his constituency and represent their views and needs and get things for them. We need genuine representatives of the people. Not the one who comes once in five years to ask for votes.

You will notice a word that is missing here – leadership. We all agree that candidate should be a leader, but what does that mean? The word leadership means, serve and make a difference in others life, set a vision, lead by example and of course, in-corrupt.

The politicians we choose have enormous social, community and national responsibility. Choosing a right candidate in the upcoming elections is of paramount importance. As rightly said by Mahatma Gandhi – “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”

When my 80 year old grandfather could do this much research to evaluate a political candidate, why can’t we young, educated urban people assess right candidate in this elections.

Did my grandfather miss any points? Please share if any, so that it helps us in evaluating a good candidate.

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