07/03/2009

The Upcoming General Elections

The Election Commission has announced the schedule for the next General Elections in the country. Beginning from 16 April the exercise will continue till May 13th taking 28 days for the polling and another two to three days in counting, provided there are no complaints of irregularities, in which case the period can prolong further. During the whole span there will be a situation of suspense and uncertainty in the whole country. As state assembly elections in three states are to follow soon after this phase will be extended even longer. This time the elections will be held in five stages though not in all the states or territories. In some areas the polling will be completed just in one day and in others it may take two polling days. A special event worth noting this time is that the present Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Goplaswami, is going to retire in the midst of the election exercise on 20th of April and will be replaced by another CEC. Since the President has declined the recommendation of the present CEC to suspend his deputy Mr Navin Chawla, the later is going to take over on 20th of April.
This year’s elections are taking place in some unusual circumstances. The internal situation is quite grave in several respects, there is a political chaos and the problems arisen out of fear and terror also need to be tackled. The conditions in the neighborhood as well as on the international horizon are to affect us naturally. The world in the grip of recession is having its shadows on us as well. The economic slump that started from the US has taking the whole world in its grip and it continues to worsen day by day assuming frightening proportions. The remedies being applied by the US and the West are all falling flat and there seems to be no light at the end of this dark tunnel. India was bound to be affected by this adverse state of affairs and it is going to leave its imprint on the elections as well. There doesn’t appear to be much enthusiasm among the political parties this time as they have little to attract the masses and no catchy slogans are in the air. On the contrary the parties are worried how are they going to meet their election expenses, as the big fishes in the business and industry who used to finance them are themselves in doldrums. There is no immediate recovery in sight. Whatever they may claim to ease the feelings of masses, they know in their hearts that there is little room for optimism in the near future.
Let us watch and see how the political parties chart their ways in days to come.
Editor:Parvaz Rahmani, sehroza DAWAT, 07 March translated by: M H Zulqarnain , Riyadh

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