It Takes Guts!

My generation has always been eternally cynical. When it comes to voting, politicians and elections, this is even more pronounced.
So what are the options available to us during an election?
1. Not vote
2. Go to the voting booth and then decide not to vote (Rule 49 O).
3. Do research and find out the most honest / best candidate among the ones standing and then cast your vote for that candidate, irrespective of his/her party affiliation
4. Convince an appropriate candidate to stand
5. Stand for elections yourself
The first is a real option that can be exercised in a democracy. The second is rubbish and a quick Internet search will reveal why. The third used to be difficult because adequate knowledge of a candidate, his/her performance, assets, past scandals, etc used to be difficult to obtain, but is much simpler these days due to the widespread availability of information on the web and websites that now track the candidates quite rigorously and religiously. The fourth and fifth are tough, especially for the vast middle-class in this country, which unfortunately has the least say in how this country is run.
And so, when a PLU (person/people like us) stands for election, you sit up and notice.
When Mona called three weeks ago to say that she was standing for the MP election from South Mumbai, as a candidate of the Professionals Party of India (PPI), which incidentally I had never heard of (and none of my friends and family had either), I had no clue how to react.
My first thought was. Wow!
Because…it takes guts to do something like this!
Mona is an ophthalmologist, and like most doctors, a daily wage earner, who earns only when she sees patients. It takes guts to put all that on hold for 30-45 days and campaign. Forget the loss of income and practice; you need to spend money to run a campaign; letters, posters, travel, meetings…all come with real costs. And when you don’t have a party behind you that is spending on your behalf, this becomes even more of an issue, since you need to spend your own money. Mona has two young school-going daughters, who need constant parenting. She has a household and a husband to take care off as well. Like all middle-class mothers in their late 30s and 40s, she is already on oxygen, gasping for air, juggling multiple responsibilities and just running to stay in the same place.
And then she decides to contest to be an MP from South Mumbai.
To my mind, there can be no better person to manage a constituency than a multi-tasking, middle / upper-middle class mother in her late 30s/early 40s, who is used to handling twenty problems and issues at the same time, while staying steady with her feet on the ground with her sanity intact. In fact, maintaining a constituency and representing it in Parliament, would be much simpler and easier. And the icing? She is just like you and me and understands our middle-class issues.
Mona Patel Shah. I am not from your constituency and unfortunately cannot vote for you. But I am proud that a doctor and a working mother has had the guts to take a stand and do something about issues that all of us just crib about all the time, without actually doing anything. I don’t care if you win or lose (obviously I fervently hope you win), but you’ve already made a difference and become a role model…just by standing. All the best!

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