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Monday, January 30, 2012

Elections in 5 Indian States and Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu

Age has been the perfect fire extinguisher for flaming youth.;  Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt.;  A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef. ****

India has such a wide and varied culture that it is too difficult to understand the occurrences and their implications in other States.  Five States go to Polls – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand  and campaigning is in full swing - the stage  and mood is almost that of a mini general election. The Golden Temple known as Harmandir Sahib, is located in the city of Amritsar where the poll waves are hot.  The strokeless wonder on debut [remember the way he was playing when Lloyd’s West Indies toured India immediately after their defeat in WC 1983] who exploded to Sixer Sidhu by 1987 WC is moving door to door campaigning for the contestant at Amritsar East Constituency is his wife  Dr. Navjot Kaur Sidhu. 

The variance is there to be seen and observed – of the Five States – the elections at Manipur is over on Jan 28 (single phase); Punjab & Uttarakhand go to polls today; it would March 3 at Goa – whereas in Uttar Pradesh it will be 7 phase affair starting on Feb 8th and ending on 3rd of March – the fate of political parties would be known after March 6, 2012, which is day of counting of votes. 

Historically, Punjabi voters have sought change every five years.  It has been rotation of power  between the Congress and the Akali Dal. In 2007, the Akali Dal was given the baton and now it appears to be the turn of the Congress. More so because there is a third political front, a breakaway faction led by a cousin of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal — Manpreet Singh Badal, who was Finance Minister in the Akali Dal government till some time ago.  Anti-incumbency factor had played havoc to the fortunes of many ruling parties in different State and this appears to be consistent in Punjab from 1967.  Manpreet Badal’s Punjab People’s Party (PPP)-led Sanjha Morcha is contesting all the 117 seats in the state. He himself is contesting from two assembly seats – Gidderbaha and Maur.   The leaders of Akali Dal,  the father-son duo – Prakash Singh and Sukhbir Singh Badal –  are facing several corruption accusations. They are accused of having built big stakes in the transport, liquor and sand mining businesses during the past five years when they ruled the state. They are accused of monopolising the state’s cable distribution network. And two weeks ago, Sukhbir Singh Badal, also known as CEO of the Punjab government, was accused of seeking a Rs 1 crore bribe from a senior IAS officer. If you feel that the allegations and actions are more or less similar in your State also – it is your own reading !!!

Elsewhere on the hills of Manipur – the assurance of EC for a peaceful poll came a cropper – high turnout @ 82% is reported but worrying is the news of killing of 7 persons including a CRPF jawan and four poll officials. It is reported that a suspected NSCN(IM) militant entered a booth at Thampi polling station in Chandel constituency and  there were killings inside the booth.  Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, is eyeing a third term in office in Manipur. 

At Uttarakhand 63 lakh electorate is to decide the fate of 788 candidates in 70 assembly constituencies.  Top state leaders, including chief minister B C Khanduri from Kotdwar, former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank from Doiwala, leader of opposition Harak Singh Rawat from Rudraprayag and PCC chief Yashpal Arya from Baajpur seats will try their luck at the polls.

Those who follow Indian Politics keenly would remember that filing of candidates with same / similar sounding names, filing of nomination by dissidents, filing by large no. of candidates have all plagued conduct of elections and when there are larger no. of candidates in the fray, the printing, mapping, folding and placing the ballot sheets caused big trouble to EC Officials.  Now, the elections are through Electronic voting machines (EVM) – and in a recent ruling Delhi High Court noted that even though they are not tamperproof, EVMs are the backbone of our election process.  Certainly reverting to paper ballots is going to cost the Nation a fortune making the process more cumbersome and tedious.   In the recent past, Election Commission has assumed control and generally are impartial in conducting the largest voting exercise in the world with fairness.

So from a month now, there could be new rulers !!

****  - some Sidhuisms !!! – one liners from the mouth of colourful Navjot Singh Sidhu

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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