Posts Tagged ‘Indian Parliamentary elections -2009’

CAMPAIGN CLOSES, ENDGAME BEGINS – MINT

May 12, 2009

 


  • Posted: Tue, May 12 2009. 10:30 AM IST
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    CAMPAIGN CLOSES,
    ENDGAME BEGINS


New Delhi: Campaigning for the month-long general election came to a close on Monday with no clear winner in sight, setting the stage for active back-channel negotiations between key political groupings.

 

Mayawati of the BSP 

Mayawati of the BSP
The general expectation is one of a fractured mandate, giving neither of the three major political formations—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the so-called Third Front, led by the Left parties—a clear chance of forming the next government.
As action shifts to New Delhi, the various possibilities have thrown up a raft of names as dark horses for the top job of the next prime minister, if neither the BJP nor the Congress is able to get the math to work for them.
The list includes Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat.
“The trend seems to be unpredictable. Whichever coalition comes to power cannot do so without the support of the BJP or the Congress. Any attempt of the Third Front to form a government will have to have the support of either of the two big national parties,” said Bidyut Chakrabarty, professor at the department of political science, Delhi University.
Also See Guess Who? (Graphic)
“As the campaign started, the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) seemed to be in a position of advantage but towards the end, it lost the race to NDA (National Democratic Alliance) which is at the forefront at present.”
Nitish Kumar of the JD (U) 

Nitish Kumar of the JD (U)

In the final phase, 107.8 million voters will choose from 1,432 candidates to decide the winners in 86 Lok Sabha constituencies. Besides Tamil Nadu, elections will also be held for four seats in Himachal Pradesh, two in Jammu and Kashmir, nine in Punjab, 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in West Bengal, five in Uttarakhand and one seat each in both Chandigarh and Puducherry.

Some analysts say Tamil Nadu, which has 39 seats going to polls on Wednesday, is crucial to the prospects of the ruling Congress-led UPA. In 2004, it was its ability to sweep the state that enabled it to grab power at the Centre.
“The Congress has never been a significant force on its own in Tamil Nadu, However, if its ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) fares badly, as reports indicate, the Congress might be in trouble. There are lots of factors working against the DMK, including anti-incumbency and the handling of the Sri Lanka issue and hence, its future in this election does not seem too bright,” added Chakrabarty.
The Congress has already signalled that it is looking to win new friends and influence people. The party’s general secretary Rahul Gandhi, in a press conference last week, reached out to estranged ally, the Left Front, and even key NDA constituent Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), led by Kumar. He also made overtures to Third Front parties such as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (AIADMK). 

The various possibilities have thrown up a raft of names as dark horses for the top job of the next PM
The Left Front, meanwhile, is engaged in hectic back-channel deliberations and is hoping to get more “secular” non-Congress, non-BJP parties into its fold after the results are declared on 16 May.
And BJP has deputed former party chief Venkaiah Naidu to talk to TDP to explore the possibility of a post poll alliance with that party, said a senior leader of the part who did not want to be identified.
“If we (the Left), along with parties like the Biju Janata Dal, TDP, manage even slightly less than 100 seats together, we will make all possible efforts to form a non-Congress, non-BJP government,” said a senior CPM leader who did not want to be identified.
Sharad Pawar of the NCP 

Sharad Pawar of the NCP

On Saturday, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which had contested the previous Lok Sabha election as part of the Congress-led alliance, participated in an NDA rally. The massive NDA rally in Punjab’s industrial town Ludhiana saw key partners such as Kumar sharing the dais with newfound allies such as TRS’ K. Chandrasekar Rao.

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed a joint rally with DMK leader M. Karunanidhi in Chennai—a move seen by some analysts as a damage-control exercise aimed at placating the ally in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s comments.
Prominent candidates in the fray in the fifth phase are home minister P. Chidambaram and former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, both from the Congress, BJP’s Maneka Gandhi, DMK’s T.R. Baalu, A. Raja, and Dayanidhi Maran, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as well as Samajwadi Party’s Jayaprada. BJP’s Varun Gandhi, who shot into prominence after his alleged hate speech against Muslims, will also face the electorate on Wednesday.
The NDA plans to launch an ad campaign highlighting its strengths as an alliance. Analysts see this as a move by the party to project itself as the party heading the largest pre-poll alliance, thereby improving its chances of forming the next government. .
Prakash Karat of the CPM  

Prakash Karat of the CPM

“BJP is confident that it would be the biggest pre-poll alliance after the results are declared. We expect that the President of India would go by the convention and precedence to invite the largest pre-poll alliance (to form the government),” BJP spokesperson S.S. Ahluwalia said.

“Where there is a hung Parliament, the constitutional text is silent (on what should be done). Constitutional conventions supplement the text so that the President must invite the single largest party to form the government,” said Sudhir Krishnaswamy, professor at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, who specializes in constitutional law.
“Where there is a pre-poll alliance, the president may invite the largest alliance. In the event that a pre-poll alliance does not have the required numbers the President must invite the largest post-poll alliance. In any of these decisions the guiding principle is that the President must invite the party in the best position to form a stable government. If the post poll alliance does not have requisite numbers the president would go back to the single largest party,” Krishnaswamy added.
Graphic by Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint
Malathi Nayak, Liz Mathew and K.P. Narayana Kumar of Mint and PTI also contributed to this story.

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A People’s Manifesto for the 15th Lok Sabha Polls – By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

March 23, 2009

A People’s Manifesto for the 15th Lok Sabha Polls

 

 

By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi

 

The present UPA government promised to take firm initiatives to address Muslims’ backwardness and insecurity issues in its common minimum program. The much hyped Sachar Committee set up by UPA for evaluating socio-economic conditions of Muslims was not even put to discussion in the Parliament. Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission constituted to recommend constitutional and legal solutions following the Sachar findings was also not tabled in the Parliament.

 

In about two years since the Sachar report was handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2007, other than some perfunctory paper works like madrasa ‘modernization’ and scholarship schemes for minority students by way of the HRD and Minority Affairs ministries, no practical steps have been taken to bring the findings of the report to fruition. In Bihar, central scholarship meant for Muslims was distributed among Jain students and people responsible for the execution said they were not aware about the specific beneficiaries. In Maharashtra a Muslim cabinet minister responded by saying that he was unaware of the handsome central funds allotted for minorities which lie unutilized till date.

 

To have a comparative look at the balance sheets of the major political parties with the promises they made four years ago in lengthy manifestos, before one casts one’s vote, must be of key concern for Muslims if they wish to make any impact of their democratic rights in the forthcoming elections. As a community with common issues of equity of opportunity, empowerment and security it has to assess the role of the UPA, NDA or so-called third front in addressing Muslim issues.

 

The Center for Minorities’ Empowerment (CME) of Hyderabad, Jamat-e Islami Hind (JIH), Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians (MOEMIN) and other Muslim NGOs have outlined issues of interest for Muslims to be dealt with as the community’s agenda in the 15th Lok Sabha elections. Here is the ‘voter’s manifesto’ with inputs from different demands by Muslim organizations. 

 

The Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission has recommended 15% reservation for minorities and 10% of it should be for Muslims other than by de-linking religion with article 341 of the constitution. The commission has come up with various positive recommendations. The first demand should be its implementation.

           

The contentious Waqf properties, meant for Muslims’ educational and social upliftment, have been misused by both government and the community. The Waqf issue must be urgently resolved by revising the National Waqf Council Act 1994 on par with endowments act and the Sachar interventions calling for Central Waqf Services. This can be the second demand.

 

Police reform has been awaited by all concerned citizens of the country for decades and mainstream media has been genuinely discussing the issue. But the calcification at the policy level has made the ruling dispensation consider it political suicide to implement the recommendations made by various commissions about reforms. A transparent system of accountability in the policing and constabulary would deprive the political masters of their age-old myrmidons to do their bidding.  Urgent police reform should be the third demand.

           

It was proposed to give constitutional status to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) at the beginning of the UPA regime through the 103rd amendment under section 340 but the UPA repealed the existing NCM Act of 1992 and did not introduce any new law.  Similarly the Minority Educational Institutions Act of 2009 passed in Lok Sabha has quibbled with the specific definition of the word ‘minority’ as anybody in the country is a minority either by religion or on linguistic grounds. The definition of the term minority and the constitutional status of NCM through required amendment should be the fourth demand.

           

As the government is facing technical difficulties in providing reservation for Muslims, it should provide ‘special budgetary assistance’ to address the backwardness of Muslims as its budget allocation on par with dalits as such assistance is under the charge of the executive. This ‘Special Component Plan’ will be helpful in providing financial assistance to the majority of Muslim youth who are in the unorganized, semi-skilled and self employed sectors. Thus a special budgetary assistance to Muslim minority should be the fifth demand. 

           

The two draconian laws– NSA and UAPA were undemocratically enacted by the UPA government in a rush without allowing a debate in the legislative houses. These laws have to be revised and the criminal justice system be made accountable to avoid discrimination. This can be the sixth demand for the 15th Lok Sabha polls by Muslims along with common sarak, bijli and pani issues with other Indians.

           

The smaller and regional political parties may gain political mileage should they widely discuss and debate on the issues during election campaigning and vigorously make all national parties clarify their position on these issues. Democracy is all about equity in empowerment. A single push over the EVM button can bring about historic changes.

           

Thus, wisely vote for ‘your manifesto’ and decide the political destiny of the candidate of your choice, keeping in mind the pre-poll and post  poll combinations that upset the voter’s trust and honest intentions about those they seek to propel to power.

 

M. Burhanuddin Qasmi is editor of Eastern Crescent and director of the Mumbai based Markazul Ma’arif Education and Research Centre. He can be contacted at manager@markazulmaarif.org

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON ELECTIONEERING TOWARDS 2009 INDIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS – By Ghulam Muhammed

March 19, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

 

SOME OBSERVATIONS ON ELECTIONEERING TOWARDS 2009 INDIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

 

1.The two main ‘Brahminical’ political parties, Congress and BJP are in serious trouble as regional and potential Third Front partners, are increasingly going independent and are loath to give space for the two national parties to attain their high count of seats, to be able to lead any coalition; be that UPA or NDA.

 

2. The new attraction of electing a Prime Minister, not from the two main parties, is giving a new boost and new shine to leaders of different regional parties.

 

3. The old cartelization of Indian politics, monopolised by high-caste leadership, is giving way to a new set of players from the lower strata of Indian polity.

 

4. Muslims, once the backbone of all political parties, once committed, have started their own ‘outfits’ (term preferred by TOI, that probably refuses to legitimize their efforts by calling them political parties)  and adopting Congress/Mayawati formula of inclusion of all weaker sections of voters, and giving tickets to non-Muslims and campaigning for them.

 

5. Muslim political activities are focused on state level efforts to put up candidates for Lok Sabha. The usual harangues and conclaves of Muslim leaders are missing, as tactical voting has gone regional and national politics are on the backburner.

 

6. Communal riots and communal politics has been decisively put away by both ‘Brahminical’ parties, as they have fully realised the counter productiveness and aftereffects of the bloodshed and the glare of world attention on Indian elections. The way Varun Gandhi has evoked alarmed reaction from practically all quarters of the political spectrum goes to prove that the days of ‘communal riots’ as boosting the prospect of communal voting successes, are numbered.

 

7. The menacing shadow of turmoil in Pakistan and the palpating danger of Taliban terror reacting to any more Gujarats in India, is weighing heavily on the two Brahminical political group’s strategies to whip up frenzies of the communal nature as a convenient short cut to garner landslide victories.

 

8. Left parties appear to be prepared to junk their ideological baggage and lead the Third Front, through consensus politics.

 

9. Indian politics is poised for a paradigm shift and change is in the air.

 

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

 

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