Okay, so the whole world knows that the largest democratic nation went for the most crucial phase of its polls today. Marking the third phase, elections took place in 11 states and three union territories of India – Delhi, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep. This covers 91 constituencies, out of which the Congress currently holds 45 seats. Today can actually prove to be a decisive day for the party.
Why is this election different and why does it promise to be one that nobody has ever seen before?
Because of the wave of hope and change that reside in the minds of the people, especially the first time voters. They run up to approximately 150 million in numbers. A majority of the population in India are between 20 and 35 years of age and they want a change. Gone are the days when people silently suffered poor governance, threw up their hands and said, “What to do”? Now, they believe they can bring in a change and they are all geared to exercise their rights and duties to bring about the change. Thus this election is not just an election but it is a ray of hope for millions.
And indeed, voting was brisk and the voter turnout was high – better than the last Lok Sabha elections. Chandigarh witnessed about 74 percent voter turnout, Kerala 73.4 percent, Jammu and Kashmir 66 percent, Uttar Pradesh 65 percent, Delhi 64 percent, Maharashtra 54 percent, Chhattisgarh about 51.4 percent, Bihar 51.92 percent, Madhya Pradesh 46.5 percent, Maharashtra 30.8 percent. Violence was reported in some parts. In Patna, two jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and four others injured in a landmine blast.
As the polling took place, two Election Commission personnel were allegedly beaten up in Malda in West Bengal. No prices for guessing who beat them up – Trinamool Congress (TMC) party workers. They were apparently capturing a bike rally organised by TMC. Bike rallies are prohibited under EC rules. Now we hear that EC has taken serious offence against the incident. Looks like the tiff between TMC and EC will continue for some time. Remember how TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee had first refuted the EC directive to transfer few officers and then later relented.
If you were in Kerala at Ernakulam and in booth 118 and had tried to vote for Aam Aadmi Party, you would have found that it was jammed. AAP workers soon realised this and staged a protest saying that the voting machine was rigged. The polling resumed two hours later after the machine was replaced.
Priyanka Gandhi will be accompanying her brother and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi when he is campaigning in Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. No, her husband Robert Vadra will not be there, maybe he is maintaining a low profile as BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has been roaring – “Who can make 50 crores in three months – Sehzade’s jeejaji can.” Sehzade refers to Rahul Gandhi.
Modi was in Siliguri campaigning and he decided to rip Mamata Banerjee apart. He said that there has been absolutely no development. Only fake ‘parivartan’ has taken place. When AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was in Gujarat last month, he had something similar about Modi’s development claims in Gujarat. This brings us to the question – has there been actual development? Or are these political bigwigs only hallucinating?
Modi is married, Modi is not married, Modi is married….What is his marital status? It seems he had a child marriage but decided to walk out of it long ago. His wife Jashodaben is now 62 years old and is a retired school teacher who lives on a pension of INR 14,000 in a small village in Gujarat. That is very less compared to the 1.5 crore assets that Modi has declared.
At a rally in Rajasthan, Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Modi’s remark that he wants to be a chowkidar. He said sometimes chowkidars also steal, so the keys of the country cannot be given to a single person. He went on to add that the Congress wants to give the keys to crores of Indians – har haath shakti, har haath chabhi.
In a shocking speech, Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav supported rapists saying, “Sometimes boys make mistakes, why hang them?” He had earlier opposed Women Reservation Bill and even the new anti-rape bill. How should one react to such a statement? Is it best to ignore thinking that age is catching onto him? But can’t let it go off that easily, because he says if SP comes to power, he will try to amend the bills – now that is indeed a very serious concern.
The EC has had a very busy day ensuring that the elections across the country are carried out smoothly and also booking each and every person who was violating the Model Code of Conduct. The latest to be reprimanded was Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who called Modi a mass murderer.
Meanwhile Mukhtar Ansari, who heads the Quami Ekta Dal has withdrawn his candidature from Varanasi. His brother said that he was doing so to avoid division of votes. Yes indeed, how thoughtful, especially when Ansari ji is in jail.
In another development, the BJP sacked expelled party leader and former Union Minister Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh from its national executive. He has been alleged of campaigning against the party candidate in Barmer. Jaswant Singh is contesting as an independent candidate after he was refused the ticket.
It has indeed been a busy day today. Stay tuned with us as we try to cover the developments that each day unfolds.