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इंडियन आवाज़     18 May 2024 03:56:19      انڈین آواز

Will elections 2024 be the dirtiest ever?

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By Devsagar Singh / New Delhi

Election 2024 could well  be the dirtiest ever in the electoral history of the India. Look at how issues ranging from religious community to race are being raked up in public to the detriment of a cohesive social fabric of the country.

If Muslim minorities are being dragged into reservations for the community in an obvious attempt at polarization,  alleged racist statements  are riling countrymen for no rhyme or reason. All this for  brownie points in the midst of elections. With just about half the phases over, it is anybody’s guess what  kind of filth and frivolities will be splashed by politicians to waylay voters from real issues for another three weeks. The Election Commission has hardly any control over the matter. It is not even issuing routine admonitions  apparently because it involves powerful people.

Serious issues like unemployment,  price rise, problems faced by farmers, shortage of drinking water in many places in these hot summer months, among others, are being ignored.  This is simply because the ruling party  has no answer and is interested in confusing the electorate by raising  divisive issues. While it suits the ruling party, the Opposition, unfortunately, is unable to counter it effectively. Instead, it is biting the bait, compounding the situation further. The Opposition is getting involved in responding to frivolous issues raised by the  BJP leadership, losing precious time for exposing various misdeeds.  Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s advisor , Sam Pitroda, for example, only sought to convey India’s unity in diversity. His words were deliberately misinterpreted  and twisted to create controversy.  In what looked like a confession of guilt, Pitroda  was  forced to resign as chairman of Overseas Congress, a position he held efficiently.

Public discourse is anything but dignified. Criticisms are being replaced by vulgar innuendoes and personal attacks. A  country claiming to be the largest democracy is fast becoming an object of ridicule. Minor deviations have always been accepted as normal in the heat and dust of electioneering.  When they cross limits, however, the situation gets ugly. One of the key factors for such a situation is long period of electioneering and voting.  The seven phase polling spread over a month and half is proving to be counter   productive. Patience is running out among top leaders  not to talk of contestants and voters, resulting in frayed tempers and ugly spat. 

Non-issues  are being raked up on emotive lines. The only silver lining, however, is the voting public. The voters  are intelligent enough to understand and assess the situation. They are not letting their mind easily. This is one reason why there is consternation in  the political class, especially the ruling party.

Low polling in the first two phases has only added to the confusion. The ruling BJP is unsure if it is going in its favour. With so much at stake, Prime Minister Modi is leaving nothing to chance. So is the Opposition in its own way.

Polsters , meanwhile,  are having a field day—making the confusion worse confounded. The ruling party is hysterical unsure of the final result. The Opposition is eyeing  a chance after three phases of polling.

Devsagar Singh is a senior journalist

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