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Updated on: Saturday, June 01, 2019, 02:33 PM IST

City doc seeks US like debates for LS elections

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Shamoly Khera is hoping to see serious debates between Modi, Rahul and Kejriwal on the lines of US presidential debates with an online petition

Mumbai : Could we get serious political debates between Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal on the lines of US presidential debates? Shamoly Khera, a Mumbai-based doctor, theatre actor and TV host all rolled into one, is hoping to make this true with an online petition ‘CALL FOR DEBATE 2014’ that has gone viral on the net. The two-week old petition on change.org, which is aiming to garner 10 lakh votes by April 1, has already received 14, 483 votes and every minute several netizens, agreeing with the need for debate, are casting their vote thus notching up the scores.

“I feel that we Indians as voters have evolved and are wise when it comes to exercising our franchise. However, it would definitely help the voters if the policies of the political parties are presented in a manner that most of us will understand. Right now, the polls have been hijacked by ideological battles and shouting matches on TV and amid this chaos I am not sure which party to vote and why?” said Dr Khera.

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She explains that while all parties claim they have a manifesto, none of them have made their economic, social, developmental and strategic policies clear. “But what good is a manifesto if the voters are unaware about it and if its contents cannot be debated?” she asks.

According to Dr Khera, Modi has not yet explained how the Gujarat model, which the BJP is harping on, can be replicated in states that need different solution sets. “On the other hand, Congress VP Rahul Gandhi has not told us in detail how his government will be different from the current government,” said Dr Khera. While she is not sure what policies Kejriwal and his team will introduce if voted to power.

Dr Khera does not agree that her celebrity status has contributed to the popularity of the petition. “I have just put thumbnail photo to go with the petition, which people may not recognize. However, the persons, casting their vote for the online petition, are doing so because they feel there is an urgent need for such a debate,” she said. For instance, Deepshika Agarwal, who among other reasons has cited Delhi being unsafe for women, says that people should be aware of the views of their leaders. Gunjan Sarda, originally from Hyderabad and now in the US, has commented that the PM must have good strategy in dealing with economic reforms, education policy, strategy for farmers of India and most importantly security issues. “What are their views on China, Pakistan and USA,” commented Sarda in the petition.

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When Dr Khera first started the petition two weeks, she had received a lukewarm response with the votes trickling in slowly in the first few days. However, gradually as the word spread, the votes began to spike. Since Tuesday morning, the petition has garnered more than 5,000 votes.

She said that this format is tested with successful results in democracies like the US (since 1987) where a special Commission of Presidential Debates has been established to let the two Presidential candidates come forward and defend their party’s policies and reforms.

“If we collect one million signatures by April 1, 2014, surely our political parties will listen to a million Indians, who are only asking that a few critical questions be answered about the country we love dearly,” said Dr Khera.

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Ganesh N

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Published on: Friday, March 28, 2014, 12:00 AM IST
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