These are election times in Maharashtra and a reader of TOI wrote in his letter to the editor that he supports a petitioner who demanded that the pavement encroachers be debarred from voting. This, they think, apart from saving the city would prevent politicians from cashing on their vote bank. There are lacs and lacs of encroachers in most of the major cities, especially in Metros who occupy pavements and public dwellings but debarring them from voting would be one of the stupidest way one can think of to tackle a problem of such magnitude.
Indian politics has had a long history of dependency on one kind of vote bank or other. The game remains the same as the theme changes every election. Supporting such petitions, whom do we debar from voting next then, the SC/STs, the Minorities, Women?
Encroachments are the illegitimate bye-products of unplanned development, lack of infrastructure and petty politics. First their goons would enact the encroachments, hand in gloves with the local civic administration. Then they provide them with ration cards, let them feel at home and provide then all kind of amenities they can expect, voila they have a vote-flow ready on their investments. We all know this, yet we allow these buggers to contest elections year after year. If we should debar anyone, they are these gangsters and frauds turned politicians, debar them from contesting any election, if they ever promise anything to such “banks” in their manifesto or speeches. Set some example and you would see the results. But who's going to bell the cat?