ADR and others have spent decades in “voter education”. Some believe that more voter education will help.
I believe this is both unnecessary and deals with the wrong problem.
While it may be the case that some voters do not make a thorough analysis of options, they almost always select the best candidate on offer. That is what explains the constantly shifting voting patterns across the country.
The real problem in India is on the supply side. Candidates with poor ethics are selected by parties deliberately since all parties must necessarily be corrupt in order to succeed (as explained in BFN). The few candidates with good intentions who do enter generally do not have the time or money to campaign and reach out to voters. But there is virtually none who is both honest and competent – and willing to spend time and money to campaign.
The incentives built into the system force corrupt and even criminal candidates to be selected (they must spend crores of rupees – and only the corrupt have such money).
Voter education won’t work to even remotely address the problem. Voters are much smarter than we think. They don’t need to be told how to vote. They will always pick the best they can, given the information available to them.
Those who believe in voter education are likely to achieve genuine results by themselves contesting elections. Give the voters a real choice. If you are better than the rest, show it by contesting.
But from what I know about India for the past many decades, such persons do not contest (and even if they do, they will not campaign vigorously for 2 years, and they will not have the resources to campaign vigorously).
Unless 300 good people enter the parliament and change the systems’s underlying incentives, the people of India must be prepared to live with what they have – a truly sub-optimal situation.