There are over 900 million voters who will be casting their votes from April 11, 2019 to April 19, 2019, an increase of more than 84 million voters over the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The results will come out on 23 May, 2019.
Through its manifesto, the Congress party is trying to showcase its face as the saviour of the poor, pledging to provide a minimum basic income for the country’s downtrodden. But surprisingly, neither Congress nor BJP said anything about economic growth.
The BJP manifesto promises Farmers Welfare, Citizenship Bill, Ram Mandir, Uniform Civil Code and a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism. The Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had unveiled the campaign themes and other materials of the party's election campaign, with "Phirek baar, Modi sarkar (Modi government, once more)" as the tag line.
Situations at hand:
India is currently placed on the bottom of many indexes including hunger and poverty index. We have failed to generate jobs with descent wages. There is wide gap between the haves and have-nots.
Modi government has claimed to have steered the Indian economy out of crisis in the last five years and further promises to complete the undone jobs, if elected to power. GST and demonetization are the two major actions taken by the ruling party in the last few years that have clear and visible impact on people and economy. These two steps will surely play a crucial role in this election.
Modi’s laudable work in road and rail infrastructure as well development of smaller airports and cruise tourism will also be potential factors. But companies need land and labour reforms to enable expansion. Lower import barriers, better access to power, lighter regulation, upgraded infrastructure, and lowercorporate taxes are much needed me asures.
Election Commission ensuring fair voting:
The Election Commission (EC) has taken several strong steps to ensure world’s biggest election is free from any malpractice and fair for all. It has issued strongly worded notices to DD, Zee TV, &TV and I&B Ministry and pulled down curtains on many things including biopic on Modi and came harsher on NaMo TV.
The ECI has also placated opposition parties demanding ballot paper voting by having a three-Layer security arrangements at EVM strong rooms across the country with Central Para-military Forces (CPMF) guarding the inner circle of the strong rooms where the EVMs are kept, the outer parameter is secured by the state armed constabulary and local police or the District Executive Force is deployed on the streets. The District Collectorate (DC) and Superintendent of Police (SP) are will be held responsible for the security of strong room within the district and meticulous implementation of the protocol. CCTV cameras have been installed for round the clock monitoring.
The Supreme Court has also directed the EC to increase voter verified paper audit trial (VVPAT) verification to five random Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each Assembly segment/constituency.VVPAT slips of five EVMs in each Assembly segment of a Parliamentary Constituency would be subject to physical counting. VVPATs are smaller machines attached with the EVMs and will show the voter a slip to ensure they voted correctly as per their choice.
India is deeply religious and its elections depend on cast and creeds. That is the reason no party is talking about economy; they talk about doe-outs and subsidies which are populist measures. There is no strong social, economic and political agenda. Leaders are openly defying the model code of conduct and talking about Hindu and Muslims, ‘Ali’ and ‘Bajrangbali’.
In 2014, it was Modi wave and anti-incumbency sentiment against the Congress-led coalition government, mainly as a result of corruption accusations and a downward drift in governance. Modi, then, also managed to raise Indians' hopes about their country's future by making several ambitious promises.
However, this time there is no such wave; the election is full of suspense and no one knows who will win. Modi is riding high this time on surgical strikes and corruption-free governance, while Rahul Gandhi is taking advantage of anti-incumbency, though it is not that stronger this time.
UP will decide much:
The Uttar Pradesh voting will decide who will form the government as it has 80 seats. The alliance led by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, once bitter rivals but teamed up in an effort to defeat the ruling BJP, are the strongest possibilities. Mid-term elections of Phulpur and Gorakhpur had proved that BJP may lose big this time.
What people want?
No matter which party wins, people want the same things they had wanted years ago, food safety, clean water, clean environment, job guarantee and employment generation, clean energy, global standard in education and stronger farmers with a stronger army. Experts feel the education system needs to be re-looked at completely. There is an urgent need for overhaul the education system, build schools and train teachers in quality education.
As we all know, India’s demographic dividend, or the powerful youth is going to exercise their franchise. If the country gets fractured mandate, it might fail to address the issues that plague the development.