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Taking first steps for 18th Lok Sabha

June 4 is the day of counting with winners and losers coming away with a story to spin of their own

Voters in queue to cast their votes in phase 1 of the Lok Sabha elections / PIB

The lengthy process in the search for 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha has begun in all earnestness with the electorate in 21 States and Union Territories getting to the polling booth early on Friday, Apr.19, for Phase One. Spread over seven phases that ends on June 1, the first round is the largest exercise involving 102 constituencies, the biggest catch of them all being the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu where by any reckoning the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is seen as having the clear and clean advantage. In fact the DMK may even come away as the third largest party in the new Lok Sabha, after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.

Running an election in the largest and yet diverse democracy is not an easy exercise and there ought to be a word of appreciation for the Election Commission and its tireless staffers who pull off this mammoth six week exercise as if it was something routine. And the fact that the Supreme Court of India came away against ballot papers and professing faith in the electronic voting machines deserves special mention. The horror days of ballot stuffing and booth capturing has been firmly put away to the dustbins of history, and mercifully so.

Every national election has a story to it. In the present context close to 970 million people will be exercising their franchise and the sure excitement is of the 2 percent of this group being first time voters in the age group of 18 and 19. In ways more than one this nation’s future belongs to the young and would have to be politically socialized with all the correct professional ethics of moving a country forward. More women are said to be in the fray; as is a growing number of educated joining the aspirational list. Unfortunately there is also a percentage of thugs, crooks and hardened criminals placing their bets on entering the hallowed chambers of Parliament much to the chagrin of the decent crowd that has the development of India as the core philosophy.

June 4 is the day of counting with winners and losers coming away with a story to spin of their own. But at the end of every election, there is always a positive conviction that those voted to power will govern wisely; and those in the ruling class and opposition making sure that in the race for seats, the bottom line agenda is not missed which is in truly making India a first class power in the comity of nations, not by looking at rankings but in seeing what else and what more could be done to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. That brings to memory what the legendary President of the United States, John F Kennedy, once said: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country”. 

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