Thursday, June 20, 2024

People’s power will prevail


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The cacophony of the high-voltage general election campaign ends on May 29, after a frenetic run for two and a half months since the ECI declared the schedules on March 16. The poll process in seven phases that started on April 19 would culminate in the declaration of results on June 4. In between, an anxious nation waited with abundant patience through the slow progress of the world’s largest democratic exercise. The Election Commission cannot be faulted for the delay since the deployment of manpower and elaborate security for an exercise involving 97 crore voters, also involving assembly polls in four states, is a herculean task. Threats from Maoists and several other pressure groups on the one side and the high level of rivalry between political party activists make a staggered election schedule imperative. Central forces from one state/region needed to be deployed and redeployed in other states/regions to provide additional security cover. That the polls were held in an orderly manner all through the many phases so far –with only stray cases of violence or disruptions as in West Bengal or Andhra Pradesh – demonstrates the healthy traditions that India zealously preserves, maintains and promotes on the election front. This grand exercise, by itself, is a celebration of democracy.
The curbs imposed by the Election Commission on poll-eve opinion polls and exit polls before the close of the entire voting process till 5pm on June 1 ensured that interested groups or parties could not attempt to swing the public mood by fancy projections of the ground situations. A tendency among many is to side with or vote for the winning side; hence the attempts to create such feelings through manipulated opinion poll results. In the present elections, such polls were barred from the time the tempo of the polls picked up. They are free to air these after the last vote is cast. Focussed attention will now be on such results by the evening on June 1.
Big claims by politicians of rival sides about the chances of their win, however, continued. The voters read through the lines, though. Prime Minister Modi raised the stakes by claiming they would win over 400 seats in the Lok Sabha; which might boomerang on him if the BJP underperforms this time. From there, a wiser, weather-beaten Amit Shah now says the BJP would form the next government even if it falls short of 10 to 20 seats. The INDIA alliance maintained moderate expectations, based more on the strengths of the regional parties that have tied up with the principal opposition, the Congress this time. The voting season is drawing to a close with no wave in sight and poor voting turnout. Voters it would appear are fatigued by the so-called dance of democracy as it does not work for them.


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