Monday, May 27, 2024
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High Level Committee or Confused Committee

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Editor,
The Committee set up by the Government of Meghalaya for relocation of families residing in Harijan Colony, has really confused the public. For example, it took more than 6 years to count from 1 to 194. I would like to thank the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) who corrected these figures through RTI. Secondly, this issue is not against any minority, but against illegal settlers/encroachers no matter what religion, tribe or caste they belong to. Immediate action should also be taken in other places like Lum Survey and Laitumkhrah, etc. Let us hope that relocation of legal settlers can be done soon, and a G+3 parking floor is constructed to ease traffic congestion/jam and poor street vendors can be provided a decent place to earn their livelihoods. We don’t need shopping malls, but roads to drive freely and footpaths to walk safely on.
Yours etc.,
D Pakyntein,
Via email

Mazhabi Sikhs served an important purpose

Editor,
Some organizations have recently allayed apprehension that Lum Survey locality of Shillong might become another Punjabi Lane (Them Iew Mawlong) and urged the Government to take immediate necessary action to prevent such a situation in future. Such comparison of Punjabi Lane with illegal settlers in Lum Survey exposes the lack of knowledge about the history of settlement of Sikh brethren in Shillong particularly in Iew Mawlong area. They had definitely not come here to illegally settle and grab land in the mid-19th century, rather, they have been brought by the British Government, allotted land for their stay and in return they have provided the greatest and invaluable service to the society- that is to keep the then non-descript hamlet, which ultimately became Shillong town, habitable and clean. As a natural consequence, their numbers had increased over the period of time and some of their offsprings have rightly engaged in other jobs as their domain of work had undergone a sea change with the advent of new technologies as well as change in law. Thus, terming the residents of Punjabi Lane who are bonafide Indian citizens as illegal settlers is nothing but a false propaganda with an eye on the land which by now has become commercially lucrative. Considering the service rendered by the community spanning over generations and centuries, the entire society should express their indebtedness and the Government should extend all possible help for their welfare and wellbeing. This way we can at least repay a miniscule portion of our debt, which we owe to them.
Yours etc.,
D. Bhattacharjee
Shillong-1

Urban apathy towards polling

Editor,
Three phases of polling are completed and the poll percentage indicates that this time on an average there is less polling which may be due to various reasons but one factor is definitely clear. There is urban apathy for polling which is a matter of concern despite the Election Commission having made elaborate arrangements to minimise the problems for the voters such as hundred percent polling stations are being established at ground floor so that even the disabled can cast their votes from their residence. Signs of low participation in elections is a cause of concern for Indian democracy
With the polling for the third of the seven phase elections for 93 seats in 11 states the electoral process to form the next Lok Sabha is halfway through but till now polling is not encouraging although polling is being held in à peaceful manner leaving aside some sporadic incidents. Belated turnout figures in the first two phases released by the EC had shown that this time it was lower than that recorded in the 2019 general elections. It may take a few days before official figures for the third phase are known but preliminary reports reaching the EC headquarters indicated that the voter turnout is unlikely to be higher in the third phase too. Poll watchers are divided on what the fall in voter participation means for electoral outcomes.
India’s general election is usually held every five years in April and May, and voters and polling officials are used to dealing with the harsh summer heat. But this year, India is experiencing one of its hottest summers on record. Last month, at least nine people died due to heat- related issues as searing temperatures hit the country. While addressing a campaign rally in Maharashtra, Union minister Nitin Gadkari fainted. He later explained that the crowded venue and high temperature had made him feel uneasy. Days before that, in Kolkata where temperatures soared above 43 degree Celsius, a television anchor passed out while presenting weather updates. Extreme heat conditions may have been one of the factor’s contributing to the dip in voter turnout. The extended period of the electoral process by the EC the longest since the first general election in 1951 made things more difficult.
The disquieting feature of the ongoing elections is the pronounced and sharp lowering of standards of political discourse witnessed during the election campaign. The model code of conduct prescribed for parties and candidates for unethical practices was once a potent weapon that was used by the EC during the T N Seshan era. Despite its repeated violations during the ongoing elections, it has been reduced to a toothless forum for issuing notices. There is growing perception among opposition parties that the election watchdog is being controlled by the ruling establishment to serve its political ends. The absence of a neutral umpire seems to have resulted in loss of voters interest in the game. The low turnout is a symptom of a deeper malaise.
While exercising his voting right Modi was vocal about India’s exemplary democratic process on the global stage and due to this reason many countries had adopted the election process of our country but due to the complexity of Indian elections, given India’s vastness and its divided electorate, makes their execution a challenging feat and is a difficult task for the Election Commission to accomplish under so many stresses and strains.
Notably, the BJP secured victory in the Surat constituency in Gujarat uncontested. With voting in 283 Lok Sabha seats (52 per cent of total Lok Sabha seats) complete, the election is less than a month away from its logical conclusion. After four more phases, the results would be out on June 4 which the entire world is curiously watching.
As the Lok Sabha election unfolds, discernible trends and dynamics offer insights into the nation’s pulse. Despite facing formidable challenges, the BJP leverages its organisational strength, robust campaign machinery, and Modi’s charismatic leadership to maintain its competitive edge. However, navigating through economic concerns, social tensions, and regional disparities presents formidable challenges
There is low turnout in the elections and for that, fake narratives being engineered by Opposition parties and the worst among those trending narratives is that the ruling Modi government is on a downward spiral, thanks to the low percentage of polling in most parts of the country.
This narrative is outright fake (which one would realise after analysing facts properly) and is aimed at confusing the common, unsuspecting voters that they are being taken for a ride. For, there is no evidence to suggest that a low polling percentage indicates a loss of appeal for Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and his Government and his Bharatiya Janata Party.
While lower polling percentage can be a matter of national concern, it may not daunt the political brains. For, as they insist, lowered polling may at the worst mean lesser popular participation in elections. This time issues taken by the Opposition parties are very tricky and only the results will show its performance.
Yours etc.,
Yash Pal Ralhan,
Via email

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