Editorial: Polls Free And Fair, So Far

Editorial: Polls Free And Fair, So Far

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Friday, April 19, 2024, 02:14 AM IST
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The Google Doodle in honour of the Indian elections 2024 | Representative Image/Google

Voters in 102 constituencies, spread over 22 states, will go to the polling booths today to elect their representatives for the 18th Lok Sabha. As 45 of these seats were won by the partners in the I.N.D.I.A. alliance against the 43 held by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, the outcome in these constituencies is of great importance to both groups. The BJP has to win a large majority of these seats if its ambition of getting 400-plus seats in the next House is to become a reality. It is unfortunate that the voters will have to wait for more than one and a half months to know the results. The Election Commission should have been able to hold the elections in fewer phases and declare results earlier.

The campaign so far has proved that there has been a level-playing field for both the BJP and the Opposition. It is a different matter that while the ruling party is flush with money, the Congress and other parties are starved of funds. One chief minister and a former chief minister are in jail, facing charges under the draconian money-laundering law. Polling dates have been decided in such a way that the Prime Minister’s constituency goes to the polls in the last phase, allowing him uninterrupted campaign time. A trial voting in Kerala showed the BJP getting extra votes, a charge the Election Commission has flatly denied. Just before the election was announced, the government announced the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act with a view to getting political mileage out of it.

But for some untoward incidents in West Bengal, the campaign so far has been peaceful. As was only to be expected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had his position to ensure that he enjoyed an upper hand insofar as campaigning is concerned. Unlike him, Rahul Gandhi’s helicopter was subjected to many checks and controls. Those who thought that the election would go the Modi way have reason to reassess the situation, as he and his party have a tough task to penetrate the South, while consolidating their position in the North, which is key to their objective of winning 400 or more seats. Ideally, elections should provide an opportunity to discuss the people’s problems, but obsessed as the parties are to win seats, they have given a go-by to such issues. Nonetheless, people are grateful that there are no Pulwama-like attempts to hijack the campaign.

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