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Wednesday 17 April 2019

2019 General Elections - Whom to vote?

The entire nation is in the midst of General Elections to elect the 17th Lok Sabha.  Every one of us can feel proud that we are part of the world's largest democracy with more than 800 million people electing the Government.  We need to compliment Indian Election Commission for their competence and neutrality. 

Two major alliances one under the leadership of BJP and the other under the leadership of Congress are fighting in the election to get the mandate of the people to form the Government.  In addition, there are many regional and smaller parties also in the fray.

Many suggestions are going round in the social media advising people whom to vote.  Some people suggest to vote for 'NOTA' without even looking at the candidates.  Some people suggest to vote for people with highest qualification, irrespective of their party, even if they contest as independent. 

Though voting for any candidate is a personal right, I suggest all voters to understand the procedures of Parliament and the formation of Government and then calmly think and go for voting without any bias or caste/religious consideration.

Before going in detail, we should understand that as per Indian Constitution only three bodies are directly elected by the people.

1.  Lok Sabha
2.  Lower House of State Legislative Assemblies
3. All Local bodies like village panchayats, Municipalities and Corporations.

Duties of the elected members of Lok Sabha, State legislature and the local bodies are different.  Generally people do not understand their roles properly due to lack of awareness.

Duties of the members of Lok Sabha

Though all of us discuss politics in detail, many may not know the duties of the Lok Sabha Members.  Without even knowing the role and duties of Lok Sabha Members, people go for voting.

The Members of Parliament have the following duties:

1.  Legislation - Enact laws for the entire country;
2.  Discuss the financial budget and approve;
3. Participate in the Lok Sabha Sessions and Committee Meetings and supervise the functioning of the Government.
4.  Represent the issues relating to the constituency, state and the nation in the Parliament to find a solution. This includes introducing new Central Government projects or improving the existing schemes.

Unfortunately, general public do not have the awareness about the duties of Members of Parliament.  They expect him/her to look after the local civil needs, street cleaning, street lighting and other local works.  Members of legislative Assemblies and the local body councillors are required to look after the local civic problems. 

Most of the time, general public perceives the MP who looks after the civic needs as the 'best MP'.  These MPs get a good name from the local people.  There are many MPs, without doing any Parliamentary work, get a good name from the local people by resolving only local civic issues. 

It is like a company recruiting a General Manager to plan and execute higher projects, asking him to do ordinary jobs. People should learn to expect higher performance from the Members of Parliament and not ordinary works.

How the Government gets formed?

After the General Elections, the new Government will be formed. President of India will invite the person who in his opinion commands the confidence of the majority of the House to be the Prime Minister and form the Government.  Though  Indian Constitution does not specify about political parties, in reality, President will invite the Leader of the party or the Pre-Poll alliance who has secured the majority in the House.

Presently, we have 543 seats in the Lok Sabha.  The person who commands the confidence of 272 members can become the Prime Minister.  This person can be the leader of a single party or alliance.
If there is no majority to any political party or pre-poll alliance, it may lead to confusion and instability.  This will affect the governance and the economy of the nation.

Since this General Election is for formation of Central Government, every voter needs to be careful while casting his/her vote.

Previous Governments

1.  9th Lok Sabha was formed in 1989.  The Government formed by VP Singh without majority fell in 11 months.  Chandrasekar Government formed thereafter without majority also fell in 6 months. Lok Sabha was dissolved. During this period, Indian economy suffered heavily.  India had to pledge its Gold reserve to get loan from England.

2.  10th Lok Sabha was formed in 1991.  Congress formed the Government under the Prime Ministership of PV Narasimha Rao, though there was a small shortage of majority. Narasimha Rao provided a stable Government for five years.  During this term, India opened up its economy.  Economic crisis was getting solved.

3.  11th Lok Sabha was formed in 1996.  None of the parties got the majority.  As the single largest party, BJP formed the Government under the leadership of Vajpayee.  This Government survived for 13 days.  Subsequently, Deve Gowda and IK Gujral formed the Governments without majority one after other.  All the Governments could survive only for 18 months, as nobody could provide a stable Government.  The Lok Sabha was dissolved.  Due to power hungry leaders of small parties, there was a political confusion and chaos, which led to the collapse of Indian economy. 

4.  12th Lok Sabha was formed in 1998.  This time also none of the parties could secure majority.  BJP with 182 members formed the Government with the support of some other parties.  This Government survived only for 13 months.  Parliament was dissolved, after Vajpayee lost vote of confidence in a single vote. 

5.  13th Lok Sabha was formed in 1999.  BJP led NDA secured 270 seats.  NDA Government was formed with Vajpayee as Prime Minister.  Vajpayee provided stable Government for five years.  Indian economy also was developed.

6. In the 14th Lok Sabha formed in 2004, Congress secured 141 seats and BJP secured 130 seats.  Congress formed UPA Government with alliance parties, with Dr. Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.  He provided stable Government for five years.  Though the Government was stable, due to pressure from alliance parties, there were several allegations of scam during this period, which came to light later.

7.  15th and 16th Lok Sabha were formed in 2009 and 2014.  Congress formed the UPA Government in 2009 with Dr Mahmohan Singh as Prime Minister along with alliance parties. In 2014, BJP secured majority on its own.  However, they formed NDA Government along with alliance parties with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.  Both the Governments were stable and improved the economy. 

From the above, one can observe that whenever 'hung Parliament' happens without majority to any party or alliance, political chaos, confusion happens leading to economic disaster. We have seen smaller parties taking advantage of this situation, leading to scam and corruption.

Appeal to all voters

I humbly request all eligible voters to consider the following:

1.  Though there are several recognised and registered political parties in the country, presently only BJP and Congress are competent and experience to govern this large country with stable Government.  Our past experiences of smaller parties heading the Government have led to disaster and chaos. Please examine carefully without getting into emotion or bias, which party or pre-poll alliance (NDA or UPA) can provide a stable, clean and efficient governance.

2. All parties, including small parties release their manifestoes.  The promises by smaller parties are only for academic purposes.  They do not carry any value.  The manifestoes of BJP and Congress need to be examined carefully. The promises by NDA and UPA can also be carefully examined, if they have released.

3.  If BJP or Congress or their pre-poll alliances do not get majority and if the smaller parties and independents get elected to 17th Lok Sabha in large numbers, it may lead to political chaos and 'horse trading' to woo the members to form the Government.  The Government had to yield to their unreasonable demands at the cost of the nation. India has seen those situations earlier.  I do not underestimate the smaller parties or independents.  They have greater role to play in State Assemblies and Local bodies.  Their role will be minimal in Lok Sabha, where national parties play major role.

5.  Some people campaign for 'NOTA'.  Voting for NOTA is dangerous.  It is like an invalid vote.  As per the current rules, even if there is 99% NOTA in any Constituency, results will be declared based on the majority of the remaining 1% vote.  Please avoid NOTA.

6.  After examining the manifestoes and promises of the major parties or their alliances, take an unbiased decision, to vote for the party or alliance who can provide you stable, clean and efficient governance, keeping in mind the economic growth, employment, national security, etc.  to take our nation to the next level.   As for as Lok Sabha elections are concerned only the political parties or alliances  are important, than the individual candidates. 

7.  Your vote is sacred.  It is not for sale.  Casting our vote is not only our right, it is also our duty. 

Jai Hind

By Prime Point Srinivasan, Chennai


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Prime Point Foundation is a non-profit Trust incepted in December 1999, to create Communication awareness among all the people.

K Srinivasan (Communication Strategist ) is the Founder and Chairman the Trust.
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