Inducements in the Political Marketplace

The Quint reports:

In one of the many attempts by Bengaluru citizens to raise awareness among voters in the city, the Karnataka Associated Management of English-medium Schools (KAMS) has proposed a very interesting incentive to get the parents of their students to vote in the 12 May Assembly elections.

According to reports, KAMS has decided to award extra marks to students whose parents have voted.

D Shashi Kumar, general secretary of KAMS, said, “We will record the details of the students and the parents and award 4 marks to them in the Part B section of internal assessments.” Some schools expect parents to report to the school right after voting, while some can wait until schools reopen to show their inked finger to ensure the children get the marks.

As I mention in my new AMA episode of The Seen and the Unseen (embedded below), voting is a privilege and not a duty. What’s more, the political marketplace is… a marketplace.

If a school was to announce that kids would get grace marks if their parents bought shirts from so-and-so mall, that would be considered ridiculous. A parent may go to that mall, fill all the shirts substandard, and refuse to buy one.

The political marketplace is no different. If I don’t like any of the candidates, I don’t have to vote — and what’s more, my not voting sends a signal to potential political entrepreneurs, who can see the percentage of non-voters, that there is a gap in the marketplace. They may step in to fill that gap. So if I want new forces to emerge in politics, it is reasonable to not vote.

Of course, I am neither in Bengaluru nor do I have kids, so I am immune to such pressures. How I wish I could have a positive reason to vote, though.


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