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   This elecion, you must have heard... (November 4, 1991)

This elecion, you must have heard a lot of people say, they are going to express their protest against the politicians by not voting. Which is fine. The problem is that nobody knows how not to vote.

I mean, everybody knows how to vote. All you have to do is find your name in the electoral toll, find the polling booth allotted to you, go there, stand in the queue, get a black mark put on your index finger, collect your papers, proceed to the curtained area, put a cross against the name of your candidate, fold the paper and put it in the box, then go to the office and show everybody the mark on your finger. That's simple. But how do you not vote.

As a public service, for those planning not to vote, I have prepared the following guide:

On election day, go out of Bombay.

With your son's pen and ink, put a black spot on your index finger. Then, when the candidates or their agents come to you, show them your finger and tell them you have already voted.

Or spend the day with your hands in your pocket and tell everybody: "Yes, I have already voted."

Pretend your name is not in the voters' list and look very upset about it.

Become a candidate yourself. Then you will be too busy canvassing others to vote for you to have time to vote yourself. If no party wants to make you its candidate, you

may stand as an independent.

Take a lift in the jeep of one of the candidates and arrive with him right at the steps of the polling booth. The thank his profusely for having brought you to the booth to vote for him. You will be disqualified. The candidate also will be disqualified.

Go through the whole process of voting, but do not put a cross against the name of any candidate. Alternately, put crosses against the names of all the candidates.

Vote for the candidate with the least chance of winning. It is as good as not voting.

I think, if you follow any of these suggestions, you will be able to express your protest by not voting.

Only remember one thing: In a democracy, it is your sacred duty to participate in the electoral process. You may either vote or not vote, but you have to do one or the other.

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