Narendra Modi’s time is up. Soon he will start selling tea once again in his hometown, Gujarat. The lotus flower, a symbol of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) will soon stop blooming. The hand that rocks the cradle (Congress) will soon be able to rule the nation with Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister.
The BJP had lost the elections in some of its strongholds states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. The results are seen as a clear setback to the incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi under whose command, the country has only seen rising tide of extremism and intolerance especially against Muslims and Christians.
We have to use our brains and vote for the right candidate in 2019 with eyes wide open.
SSC paper leak for vested interests
Bhiwandi police arrested a 40-year-old coaching class owner and now a parent is also involved in the paper leak as question papers of the SSC examination were leaked on social messaging application and it created a stir in education circle in Mumbai. However, Mumbai divisional board have refused to call it a leak and thus given a twist to the case. It is reliable learnt that the racket involves teachers, private tutors, schools, and students were involved in this mysterious leak in the social media. It was a case of vested interest as the person involved wanted to his daughter to score high marks and hence, all the more reason for the leak.
Better voter awareness strategy
The recent conclusion of Phase I voting for elections in 91 constituencies has resulted in a skewed voter turn-out ratio. The outcome of such a voter turnout may be now be known further as the election progresses in the upcoming phases and may perhaps have an impact with the announcement of results.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) this time was very proactive to mobilize voters to the polling booths with various voter awareness drives including Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program (SVEEP) with the creation of an exclusive SVEEP division. The division has striven hard to create voter awareness programs but the outcome of the voter turnout in the first phase of elections. It has resulted to conduct further extensive outreach programs and thus aim to achieve a better voter turnout in the upcoming phases.
Further ECI should strive to bring about an innovative strategy to find solution to the missing names and voter lists which may perhaps have impacted voter turnout. It is ironical to note that despite successive extensive campaigns, some of the voters are still under confusion related to carrying Voter slips and carrying identity card to the polling booth. A complete voter turnout could not be achieved perhaps due to the chances of missing/deleted names from the voter list and which now needs an immediate and innovative solution. The ECI can further use the technology to quickly identify the list of missing/deleted names and thus help ensure to enable voting to achieve a high voter turnout.
The other outreach factors adopted by ECI such as a dedicated voter express train carrying the message of voting, providing assistance to Persons with Disability (PwD) through ‘Matdatha Mitras’ as volunteers, selfie contests encouraged on social media, extensive awareness drive to use CVIGIL app, 1950 helpline and NSVP portal etc are also appreciable. Perhaps an overworked ECI was time bound by too many frameworks to be resolved in the guise of Model Code of Conduct and thus the attention required for the purpose of voter awareness strategy and achieve high voter turnout perhaps took a back seat.
Guest Control Order of 1960 is need of hour
Considering large-scale wastage of food-items in marriage-celebrations, some legislation like that of Guest Control Order 1960 should be there. Even Afghanistan took measures to curb such mega-expenses on marriage-celebrations.
Apart from preventing huge wastage of food, such steps will automatically check ugly show of status through money in marriages which in present era is becoming root cause of aborting female foeticide because of money required to be spent in marriages of daughters.
Timing of voting
It is quite but natural that voters have every right to question the candidates about the nature of work done so far and the future plans if they come back to power. Voters are the kings and vote bank politics carry most of the weight. People are educated and knowledgeable and do not want to exercise their right to vote in a blind way. They would like to exercise their franchise to the right candidate and as per their conscious. No one can pressurise them with force or money. That is the real essence of democracy in this country.
Making most of manifesto
Manifestos of both BJP and Congress fall short on education sector, though they have tried to touch upon key issues related to secondary and higher education. It is not a dream come true manifesto anyway. It will be the most important in the entire history of India. BJP is likely to come out as the single largest party in the election. NDA is likely to come back to power. NDA may turn the tables and may form the government with an absolute majority.
C.K. Jayanthy Maniam
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)