(This post is in response to friend Rohit’s post on Mumbai North candidates. I hope he will keep in mind the following points in arriving at a decision.)
Today, every Indian’s City of Dreams Mumbai goes to vote. That makes April 24 the crowning phase of 2014. I wanted to jot down a couple of quick thoughts if someone on my friend circle hasn’t made up her mind yet (very unlikely). Even if only three of you read this post, and one of you agrees with the sentiment, I will pat my own back.
I’m assuming that demographic that reads my posts is likely split between BJP/ShivSena, AAP, and MNS in that order. Congress is not really an option for anyone in 2014 come what may, so I will discount it.
You may (or may not) be following your local candidate’s speeches closely. If you haven’t been paying attention, then you haven’t missed much. If you have been paying attention, and inclined to vote for the candidate best suited to tackle your local issues, think again. The MP you elect will not be able to affect positively/negatively your daily life as much as if overall Indian economy improves, and jobs are created not just in your area but everywhere in India.
Think about it this way: Let’s say you are a Marathi Manoos and the biggest issue in your area is UP/Bihar migrants, and you want to vote for the candidate best suited to deal with this migration problem. You have the option to think locally or nationally before deciding. If you think locally, you might be voting for MNS candidate because he has issued grand statements to protect your interests. If you think nationally instead, if jobs are created in UP/Bihar, why would people come to your city to take brickbats from the Senas? They would rather stay close to their parents.
Let’s say your biggest issue is petty corruption. If you think locally, you might be swayed to vote for someone with extremely clean hands in his personal life, or someone who is a recent entrant to politics (so no chance of getting hands dirty). If you think nationally, you’ll soon realize that corruption has nothing specific to your constituency alone, and is a result of severe resource crunch, and everyone running after limited pie. So you would again vote for someone who would address the root of the problem: provide a better economic future to today’s youth so they don’t resort to immoral activities such as corruption, and justify it in the name of making ends meet due to unbearable price rise.
Even at the cost of repetition, let me say this: An MP has little say in the local governance which is in the hands of municipal corporation and State govt. Typically, MPs serve in parliamentary committees drafting bills, proposing amendments, doing investigation into national-level scams, and approving budgets for various sectors. Our founding fathers have designed an MP’s job to be more national and less local. However, an MP should air the concerns of his constituents in the Parliament if it is an issue worth the attention of Central govt, and cannot be solved locally. Also, MPs lead state-level delegations to get more funds sanctioned for the state.
If some MP candidate is telling you that he will fix your drainage issue, he is probably lying unless he has enough strings to pull in Mumbai corporation and state govt. to get work done. If you really want someone to fix your drainage, the right election is the one coming up in October to elect Mantralaya.
Irrespective of who is running in your constituency, I suggest that you consider candidates as the ones running for PrimeM, and those he appoints as FinanceM (for economic growth), HomeM (for law and order needed for economic growth), DefenseM (for securing the borders again needed for economic growth), and ForeignM (for India’s projection as a global economic hub).
In short: “Think National, Vote National!”