This election, nobody knows how to vote. "It's so confusing," a neighbour said. "I won't vote this time!" "You must vote," I said sternly. "Each voter is precious!" "But some more than others," he replied darkly. "My servant votes thrice while I vote once. But how to decide whom to vote for?" "Vote for the best party." "Right," he said. "But which party is Bansi Lal—Congress or BJP? Which party are Ram Vilas Paswan and Sharad Yadav—BJP or JD? Which party is Buta Singh—BJP, Loktantrik Morcha or Congress?" "I see what you mean," I said. "Perhaps the best thing is to vote for the person and not the party. Find the cleanest candidate. Vote for him."
"What good is it to vote for a person instead of his party?" he asked angrily. "In my constituency, Jagmohan is a candidate. Everybody knows he is honest. That's why he opposed the telecom policy. But what happened? He was shifted. The government pushed through the same policy. He remained part of the cabinet which endorsed it. So what good is personal honesty? It has no effect on policy!" "You've hit the nail on the head," I exclaimed. "Ignore parties which are frequently changed by the leaders. Ignore personalities incapable of risking careers to change a government's performance. Simply vote for the right policy!"
"Are you serious?" he asked with surprise. "How do you determine the candidate's policy? Is Gujral socialist because he backed Indira Gandhi, secularist because he backed V.P. Singh, or nationalist because he backs Vajpayee?" "I guess you are right," I said sadly. "There is no real socialism, secularism or nationalism left." "That's right. Only opportunism. So how should I vote?" I scratched my head. Suddenly I saw the light. "I've got it! You vote for the next prime minister. Vajpayee heads the popularity charts. So why not vote for the candidate supporting him?" "Are you crazy? Vajpayee's own election is suspect. What good will his candidate be?" "What do you mean?" "Haven't you heard? A person declared dead in government records has decided to stand against him. If Vajpayee's opponent is officially dead, they will have to countermand his election, won't they?"
Eeny meeny mina mo,
How to vote, I don't know,
When each party is a foe,
Let it come, or let it go!