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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chaos, confusion and anarchism in the elections of World's biggest democracy

Indian economy is the best economy …… those of us who see Tamil cinema regularly know this dialogue too well…. ‘India is the biggest democracy and Indian elections are the biggest exercise’ ………….the 16th  Lok Sabha elections will commence on April 7 and end on May 12 –  the largest election of the globe is to be conducted in 9 phases.  850 million are the eligible number of persons who can cast their votes, in which 100 million new voters have been added since the last elections in 2009. Out of total voters, 47.6% are females and 52.4% are male.

Something which has negligibly changed over a period of time is the number of women in the political sphere of India. After so much of talk and fight, the Women reservation bill is yet to be passed.  Among the glamour quotient is Gul Panag who once competed the Miss Universe contesting on AAP ticket from Chandigarh.  Divya Spandana, known by her stage name Ramya, from Mandya constituency and Nagma from Meerut ~ and there is Smriti Irani, the woman who played the quintessential daughter-in-law for Ekta Kapoor's Balaji telefilms  challenging  Rahul Gandhi at Amethi.

The JD(S) received a major setback on Saturday when its candidate from Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, Shivanand Naik, withdrew his nomination after claiming he did not have the finances to fight the elections. JD(S) now does not have candidates in two constituencies — Koppal and Uttara Kannada. The party has also not fielded a candidate for Dakshina Kannada and has extended its support to the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) candidate.

Article 84 (b) of Constitution of India provides that the minimum age for becoming a candidate for Lok Sabha election shall be 25 years ~ and there are not many regulations which sometimes make elections a mockery ….

One such is the attempt of Dr K Padmarajan who has been tilting the windmills ever since 1988.  The 55-year-old homoeopath-turned-businessman is celebrating the silver jubilee year of his unusual hobby of filing nominations. He has filed nomination papers against prime ministers, Central ministers, chief ministers, and even contested the presidential polls.Dr. Padmarajan, who has a successful tyre retreading business at Raman Nagar at Mettur in Salem district of Tamil Nadu, no longer practises homoeopathy.  He has filed nomination in Presidential Elections, Rajya Sabha elections and now against Na Mo at Varanasi.  He has lost more than 12 lakhs; sometimes rejected on technical grounds – but getting a place in Limca books and the publicity that it gets, makes him going.  He considers his 157 electoral battles across the country over the last 25 years, forfeiting his deposit in each of them, as a celebration of Indian democracy.

As per Section 34 1 (a) of R. P. Act, 1951, every candidate is required to make a security deposit of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty five Thousand Only) for Lok Sabha elections. The same section 34 of R. P. Act, 1951 provides that a candidate belonging to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe is required to make a security deposit of Rs. 12,500 (Rupees Twelve Thousand five hundred Only). A defeated candidate who fails to secure more than one sixth of the valid votes polled in the constituency will lose his security deposit.

Then there are some who just for the sake of publicity try out some calling it ‘novel’ – paying the deposit with coins, making the EC officials lose time in counting is one such childish attempt.  Then there is the no. of candidates… and the name of candidates…. As written earlier, EVMs can cater to a maximum of 64 candidates. There are reports that Congress heavyweight Ajit Jogi, might be planning a comedy of errors to romp home in Mahasamund Lok Sabha constituency. To unseat sitting BJP MP Chandulal Sahu, at least 10 independent candidates with sobriquet of ‘Sahu’ have filed their nomination from the seat. At least six among 38 contestants in fray have identical names of the BJP nominee and four others had similar sounding names.

One can recall that in 1996 in Nalgonda Parliamentary constituency total of 480 candidates filed their nominations - only four candidates were from recognized parties; rest were all independents. Most of these independents were contesting as part of an agitation demanding implementation of Srisailam Left Bank Canal project and drinking water supply scheme for fluoride affected villages in Nalgonda district. In 1999, Nalgonda again created a record when 444 persons were debarred from contesting the Lok Sabha elections for their failure to submit details of election expenditure incurred by them during earlier elections. Of the 444 persons debarred, 436 had contested Lok Sabha elections in 1996. Remember that such a thing happened in Tamil Nadu too once….
Then there is one party which prides its anarchist measures. In Dec 2013, many were happy when AAP won 28 seats in Delhi assembly elections – but all expectations ran dry as they formed Govt with the very support of Congress whom they had vehemently opposed….then after 49 days of chaos and mayhem, it ended on its own but allegations were made that the Opposition brought them down so as to gain sympathy.  In between the Law Minister made a stir in the night against African ladies and now comes the news that National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Delhi Police to take action against former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti for his midnight raid in Khirki Extension. Meantime, Arvind Kejriwal continues to call everyone corrupt, likes to make slanderous charges against rival politicians, is always eager for a streetfight, a mild provocation away from another dharna and believes in unorthodox tools like spycams, stings and public singing.

Another anarchism was AAP rewarding those who had supported them and refused to pay their power bills during AAP's agitation; the Cabinet  then decided to give the agitators  a 50 per cent relief on their pending bills and also waived the penalty ! ~ so those who paid their bills properly were made fools.  Now at Chandigarh he  asked the people to "loot" rotikapda (food and clothes) from BJP and Congress candidates. According to Daily Mail - "There is no harm in looting the looters. Accept if they (rivals) offer food and clothes during the poll but refuse to accept liquor," said Kejriwal, who was addressing the people of Dhanas, a slum area in Chandigarh.

Kejriwal appealed the people to vote for AAP's Chandigarh candidate Gul Panag and said she wants to serve the city and is contesting against corruption. Besides Dhanas, Kejriwal addressed gatherings at Hallomajra, Ramdarbar and Deep Complex. His cavalcade comprised over 100 vehicles and a large number of AAP supporters.

Well, Indian economy is the best economy and Indian democracy is the biggest democracy.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Photos courtesy : dinamalar.com

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