Why do Indian citizens vote? Is it hope, peer pressure or incentives or merely political parties, which compel them? And what surprises will the voters throw in the forthcoming general elections?

Such questions came in for an animated debate at second day of the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival in a discussion titled ‘Why India votes’ under ‘Democracy Dialogues’ series.

“What inspires or compels the Indian citizens to vote? Indian voters are like bags full of surprises, you can never judge their political instincts,” politician Manvendra Singh said on Saturday.

In conversation with Mr. Singh were Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor Zee News, Mukulika Banerjee, Professor London School of economics and Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, author and journalist.

“The Lok Sabha elections held in India is the largest humanly organised event across the world. Our elections are almost carnivals with free chutti (leave), free incentives and blah blah for one particular day. So much of visual pollution,” said Prof. Banerjee.

“We criticise our political parties, the functioning of democracy and much more but still Indians turn up to vote in huge numbers, but why?, she questioned.

The panellist said compulsions including peer and social pressure compelled voters to exercise their franchise.

“There is so much of peer pressure to get ink on the finger and it is there even in the villages. So, the voters might not vote for hope or incentives, but only because they had to vote,” Mr. Mukhopadhyay said.

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