Recently, the phrase “Vote Shaming” was trending among newspapers of America. This was after some mobile application helped people find out which of their friends voted.
The people who didn’t vote were looked down upon and they were embarrassed for their choice of not voting.
However, in the context of the General Elections of 2019 that were conducted in India during April-May 2019, this phrase bears a different meaning that we would analyse today.
What Is Shaming?
Most of us have heard about “Fat Shaming”, “Color Shaming” and the likes and some of us have faced it too. Shaming is some act or omission by a person or a group of persons which makes the targeted person or group of people feel ashamed, inadequate and embarrassed.
Though Vote Shaming is presently only related to shaming those who don’t cast their vote, it has a broader approach to it which concerns shaming the people for their choices as a voter.
It was only yesterday that the Election Commission of India completed the counting of votes and the public decided to bring back BJP to power.
Some people were happy with the results while some people felt that democracy failed when the country voted to a so-called ‘communal party’.
Amidst the bitter-sweet reactions to the results, there were people who were shaming others for their choices as a voter.
How Does It Happen?
Through the election results and the thumping majority secured by the NDA, it is evident that the masses voted in favour of BJP.
It is true that in the present system of elections, there is ample scope for manipulating the voters but that cannot happen with all the voters.
The vote share of NDA has soared and it has gone beyond 50% in some states. Manipulation happens, but without any backdrop of welfare schemes and hard work, getting more than 300 seats is a near to impossible task.
The voter in today’s time is aware enough to secure his rights. Had the elections only been for a star face, Smriti Irani could never have won Amethi against Rahul Gandhi.
It may happen that the ideology of a person may not match with that of another but calling a person communal or insensible just because he voted for a particular party which he thought may bring a significant change in the scenario and by whose policies he was impressed, is similar to shaming a person for making a choice out of his own free will.
For instance, the people with liberal mindset believe that a girl should not be judged or shamed for her choice of clothing or choice of work, then why should a person be shamed for his/her choice of government as a voter.
And this not only applies on the national level and isn’t only limited to the voters of NDA, but the same thing also applies on the constituency level and its impact is even on those who voted for other parties.
Democracy is all about choices and the motive behind democratic elections is to ensure that the choice of the general public is honoured.
The country may not have failed democracy when they voted-in a so-called ‘communal party’ but democracy failed in its actual sense when a voter was shamed for choosing his/her candidate on his own terms.
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