General Elections 2019 And Issues Impacting Voter Choice

OPINION

Much awaited notification to the effect has at last been made and the state is all set to elect 543 MPs to 16th Lok Sabha and some state assemblies across the country. Elections to the dissolved J&K assembly are not however being held due to security scene in the state.

Valley centric parties, for very obvious reasons, want assembly elections too to be held concurrently, but, due to raging militancy in the valley and resulting security issues, Election Commission having decided to hold elections to the Lok Sabha only in the state, is unlikely to change its mind.

Elsewhere in the country where elections to the state assemblies are due, these too are being held concurrently. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK, sensing voter swing to its side, is also agitating for even bye-elections to state assembly to be held concurrently with Lok Sabha elections.

Elections are being held in 7 Phases across the country from 11 Apr 2019 to 19 May 2019 and in J&K in 5 phases from 11 Apr to 06 May with elections to Anantnag constituency being held in 3 phases due to raging militancy in the area. All elections are important, but, these elections are more so due a paradigm shift in governance since independence in the country under PM Modi.

I’ve been sensitive to developments in the country since 1965 and regard the Modi led government the by far the best we’ve had since independence and particularly since 1965. Vision, reach, planning, execution, honesty, speed and transparency of all government actions are unmatched by standards of governance preceding it, which was variously marred by frustrating delays, corruption, scams, appeasement, remote control, incompetence and endemic cost over runs.

Govt. jobs and public offices though low-paying became prime jobs much sought after for both prestige and money spinning. Transfer industry, percentages, pocketing of budgets/pensions/ subsidies/ commissions/ middle-men and scams were a routine occurrence.

Govts/ PSUs bloated to just give jobs for votes and bribes. Licence, permits, inspector raj, organised crime and black money characterized all governments across the country with only minor variations due to local factors. Adulteration, pollution, crumbling/ non-existent infrastructure, shoddy products, filth, extreme poverty, bloating ill-fed population, smuggling, tax-evasion and sudden unexplained rise from rags to riches marked the social scene. Modi led Govt has been able to address the infrastructure, industry, poverty alleviation, health, black-money, tax evasion, transparency, decision making, middle-men,corruption, scams, swindles and policy paralysis to name just a few, and the work ison-going.

Innovative, country wide reach of development through Road, Rail, air, water-ways, communications, shipping, medium and small scale industries, electricity/ gas/toilets to each house(free to the poor), Swachh Bharat, Ganga cleaning under Namami Gange, increase in support price off arm products, e-Mandis for market access, Rs. 6000 honorarium per annum to eligible poor farmers with small land holdings, direct benefit transfer, performance audit, Ayushman Bharat, Mudra Yojana, Zero balance accounts for poor, micro and small irrigation and many more.

There has also been marked increase in power generation, air-traffic, rail modernization, spread of metro networks and many more that are widely publicized and visible. Action against tax-evasion, black-money, middle-men in contracts etc and big loan-defaulters is all too evidently being done in earnest.

On the security and governance issues the scene was never better. Both morale and competence of our defence and other security forces was never better. Execution of surgical strikes against terror in POK and Pakistan and, deft and resolute handling of ‘Doklam’ issue with China has marked our presence on global power scene.

Policing too has improved and there is no whiff of corruption at high levels at the centre. The noise on Rafale and favouring of Ambani/Adani is without any apparent substance. Govt’s record on secularism and social harmony on both principle and action is match-less. Lynching, widely flared in reporting are incidents of crime and law and order issues that have no evidence of govt involvement/ tolerance and are rightly dealt with as such,On external affairs our position was never better and it should make every Indian proud.

All our actions for help in evacuations from war-torn areas, natural calamities have been widely acclaimed for intent, promptness and delivery. Management of mega ‘Kumbh Mela’, Yoga Day, Solar Alliance and many others have put the country on a much higher pedestal.

Our PM Modi is today recognized as a model head of government who is working in an exemplary manner for both inclusive and exemplary growth of India. Improvement in doing of business, governance, poverty alleviation and in many other sectors has been widely recognized and our global rankings have markedly improved. In short, India is poised for a phenomenal success in poverty alleviation, industrialization, education, irrigation,power generation, tourism and many other fields.

Our voters have been divided on caste and communal lines to a large extent for various reasons and, regrettably I do see evidence of such entrenched attitudes.These have to some extent been dented by visible effects of Governance and development, but more work is needed.

Many people are skeptic by nature and readily latch on to adverse inspired charges of wrong doing without bothering for evidence adduced. Media too does little to help by inspired reportage and shoddily conducted opinion polls.

In conclusion, I both wish and hope the voters will rise above caste, community and even self-interest and vote in national interest for Lok Sabha. I also expect and hope the parties will field public spirited, well-educated and good-natured candidates to give the country good law-makers who’ll not be under any compulsion to obstruct both law-making and governance and thus drag down/ back the country to 2014 era of scams and corruption.

Return of Modi led Govt is widely expected, but the mere thought of combined opposition rigging majority is scary as it will be marked by squabbling, inclination to turn the clock back and to business as before to the detriment of India. I therefore appeal to discerning public spirited readers to please pitch in for objective voting in national and state interest.

Contributed By

Lt. Col Krishan Chand (Retd)

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