about 2 years ago
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The poll dates were finally announced and we all heaved a sigh of relief. But did you ever wonder why these particular dates and not earlier or later dates were picked up?

Well, it is actually the weather which decides the dates. The vastness of the country means that different parts of the country have different degrees of weather - too cold in the north and too hot in the south; too much rains in North East and scanty rains in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Thus summer is chosen as the most preferred month. And then there are the farmers. Thus the Election Commissioner arrived at the date by taking into account the onset of the hot summer, when temperatures reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the arrival of the monsoon when torrential rains can block roads and make moving around outside nearly impossible. The country’s large population dependent on agriculture and the timing of the harvest is also taken into consideration. In Naxal hit areas, before setting the dates, the election commission has to look at the lunar cycles too! And we thought putting out election dates was such an easy task!

Well, technicalities apart, the market is celebrating the announcement of the dates as though the EC announced the results of the elections! With the Model Code of Conduct kicking in from Sunday, there will be no more policy announcements. And that actually is a relief as a month or two before the elections is always uncertain times.

These 2019 elections are very crucial, every general or Lok Sabha election is; but what makes this truly crucial is the juncture at which India is standing – so many old roads and new untrodden roads emerge from where we stand today. We are the cusp of complete change in a world which is also changing rapidly. India is dealing with rapid urbanization, massive migration from rural India, huge young population remaining unemployed, transition from agriculture economy to service based, rising inequalities, sagging farm income, rising extreme ‘rightism’, falling manufacturing growth despite Made in India, the challenges in renewable energy, AI, fast paced digital revolution, dealing with pollution, deepening water crisis; there is just too much happening currently.

But the BIG question is – are our politicians listening to what the people need? Or are they even aware of these issues? There is so much din raised by constant mudslinging and potshots at each other, the voice of the common man is drowned.  Leadership is all about retaining power, at any cost. It’s not about the people or about making life easier for living. The politicians will come knocking door-to-door, presenting themselves as an image of empathy; that’s the only time they beg; you vote for them, we are left begging for the remaining five years.

We cannot have our eyes only on climbing up the Ease of Doing Business ladder or carrying the meaningless tag of ‘fastest growing economy of the world.” Statistics show that many states in India are defecation free but that’s only on paper; toilets are built but most do not have water. Nationalism is at a high fervor but then are we able to stop the brain drain? Indian-born Americans/British/Canadians/Australians win Nobles and some of the most coveted and respected awards. But why aren’t we able to produce such laureates within India itself – what use is the GDP when we do not nurture innovation?  The air we breathe is poison and water could soon become a reason for war – are we even thinking of dealing with these issues?

A leader is the one who has the vision to think ahead, has the foresight to anticipate problems; development is not just about setting up new industries; it also means giving citizens a better quality of life. Do our leaders think beyond five years?

Unemployment was and remains a contentious issue. Last time, the BJP won because it promised the youth the earth and moon. They got nothing so once again 2019 will also see new promises but aren’t they deficient on the trust factor?

Instead of raving and ranting about what the Congress did not do or making personal attacks – that helped in 2016, we wish this time around, the election speeches would be more about these issues, pertaining to real people.

Election time is always introspection time. Maybe only we the people do that; the leaders have it all sorted out – its politics and only dirty politics.

PS: The word 'Sinhasan' itself has 'sin' in it - maybe thats the only way one can get this throne?

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