Indian Parliamentary Elections 2019: First Phase Over, All Eyes on Next Phase
| Ashok Dixit, Editor - Foreign Affairs, IOP - 12 Apr 2019

Indian Parliamentary Elections 2019: First Phase Over, All Eyes on Next Phase

By Ashok Dixit (Editor, Foreign Affairs, IOP)
New Delhi, April 12, 2019: Preparations for the second phase of voting, which will be conducted on April 18, has begun after the peaceful polling of phase one of the seven-phased 17th general elections in India on Thursday, April 11.

India’s parliamentary election, also known as the Lok Sabha election is the world's largest democratic exercise and is being seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party. 

Some 900 million people are eligible to cast ballots at around a million polling stations across the country. They will decide 543 seats in India's lower house of Parliament.

In the first phase, elections were held for 91 seats in 20 states namely Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman Island and Lakshadweep Island.

Going by previous poll trends, the voter turnout for these polls indicated a vast change, departing from the expected mid-50 to mid-60 per cent average range to the higher 60 to mid-70 per cent. Factors like the weather and degree of enthusiasm predictably played a part as did acts of sporadic violence in Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. 

Three deaths were reported from these two states, two from the former and one from the latter. Whatever the voter turnout, it certainly acts as a pointer to what the trends are likely to be in the remaining six phases of what is being touted by observers and analysts as a very tight electoral race. 
At the centre of this fever-pitch election is the common Indian citizen and what are the key voting issues dominating his mind space? Survey upon survey released prior to the election these past couple of months, including a recent one by Nikkei, the stock market index for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, seem to suggest that three major events can possibly pave the way for Narendra Modi to continue as the nation’s Prime Minister for a second consecutive five-year term. 

These decisions include announcing a ten per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections of society, transferring money to the accounts of distressed farmers through a scheme monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the February 26 air strikes on terrorist training camps in Balakot, Pakistan. 

A fourth feather in the cap of the present ruling dispensation could be the timely move to conduct a live anti-satellite (A-SAT) test, something that NASA isn’t too happy about from a floating space debris point of view, but an event that sends out a message to the world that India has a strong, decisive leadership at its helm and is not lagging behind in taking strategic steps to ensure its security.

Pre-election surveys thus far, however, indicate that unemployment and under-development continue to be primary concerns among respondents, much more than issues like national security and air strikes. 

Prime Minister Modi appears to have the ear and support of the average voter on the issue of reservations for the general category and on depositing money into the accounts of farmers. 

Modi supporters say the tea-seller's son from Gujarat state has improved the nation's standing. But critics say his party's Hindu nationalism has aggravated religious tensions in India.

The opposition Congress Party’s offer of a minimum income guarantee of Rs.72, 000 annually to the poorest of poor if elected may also attract poor people towards Congress party.

Politically and legally, it has been an interesting week to ten days. Expressing his opinions through a blog post, the 91-year-old BJP founder and veteran L.K. Advani appears to be still simmering over the slight of being denied the right to contest for a record seventh time from the parliamentary constituency of Gandhinagar in Gujarat. \

The decision to nominate incumbent BJP president and Modi loyalist Amit Shah in his place has caused heartburn, as is visible through his latest commentary, wherein he has indirectly questioned Modi and his associates for labelling the Opposition as anti-national. 
His comment that “… in our conception of Indian nationalism, we (the BJP) have never regarded those who disagree with us politically as anti-national…” is very telling and completely contrary to what the present BJP leadership espouses and believes. 

His statement that he has always followed the principle “Nation first, party next, self last” since he was 14, is in a way message to the present dispensation to desist and re-evaluate before it becomes too late.

The opposition Congress Party is taking its foray down south quite seriously by convincing party president Rahul Gandhi to contest from the “safe” Wayanad parliamentary constituency. Gandhi, who is also contesting from his “family home” Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, filed four sets of nomination papers on April 4 before the returning officer A. R Ajayakumar and then undertook a couple of road shows to establish bonding with the area’s inhabitants.

Zoya Hasan, Professor Emerita at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, has in a recently published article, concluded that Gandhi’s foray down south is nothing but a “double-edged message” of opposing the BJP at the Centre and the Left in Kerala for the sake of opposing. 

She further states that national political exigencies at present require the opposition parties to come together “to form an alternative secular government, should the NDA fall short of an absolute majority on its own…”

The Congress and BJP both have released their manifestoes and now all eyes will be on voters how they take it.
Meanwhile, in a major blow to the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the SC has dismissed its objections and held that leaked documents in the Rafale case will be admissible in review petitions.

A day before the first phase polling on April 10, 2019, in a unanimous verdict, the SC said that the petitions will be dealt with on merit. The petitions had been filed against the SC's December 14 judgement refusing to order probe in procuring 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

The apex court dismissed Centre's preliminary objections seeking review of earlier judgment giving a clean chit to the Union Government in Rafale deal. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi pronounced the verdict.

The Supreme Court has said that Rafale review pleas will be heard in detail by the court. The court has also said that defence ministry documents are admissible for review. The court has said it will fix a date for hearing review petitions on the Rafale deal.

Politics apart, the Supreme Court of India is also in the news for some other reasons. 

The apex court is vexing over the issue of allowing or not allowing Right to Information (RTI) scrutiny of Collegiums workings. The country’s Attorney General K.K. Venugopal believes that such a step would destroy judicial independence. 

The matter has been in court for nearly a decade and if the Constitution Bench of the apex court gives the green signal, such a compromise could end up being quite detrimental for the future of the judiciary.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi summed it up rather nicely before reserving his verdict on the matter, when he said, “The question is of drawing a line. In the name of transparency, you can't destroy the institution.”
Image credit - IANS

(Ashok Dixit is a senior editor with over 25 years of experience. He can be reached at ashok.dixit26@gmail.com)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Indian Observer Post and Indian Observer Post does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. 

(Onkareshwar Pandey is Editor in Chief & CEO of Indian Observer Post. He is a former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor - News, ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih).

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK https://bit.ly/2SlmpLA

IOP TEAM BUREAUS & OUR ESTEEMED WRITERS - https://bit.ly/2LxOU2I

ALSO READ

China May Try to Delay the Discussions on Masood Azhar in UNGA

By Onkareshwar Pandey - https://bit.ly/2OTz6Ja

FULL TEXT OF CHARGES AGAINST JAISH-I-MOHAMMED CHIEF IN UNSC

By Onkareshwar Pandey - https://bit.ly/2OTz6Ja

Now Ball Firmly Lies in Pakistan’s Court 

By Vikas Khanna https://bit.ly/2ubcEBO

Pakistan: Reeling Under The Impact Of Self Created Fault Lines

By Jaibans Singh https://bit.ly/2JmCpcW

India Can Strike Again if Imran Fails to Deliver

By Maj Gen Dilawar Singh - https://bit.ly/2ICINwb  

Window on Pakistan Media – 5

By VK Gaur - http://tiny.cc/9vdv3y  

Modi Resisting Peace Process because of elections in India: Pak Media

By VK Gaur - http://bit.do/eKxNT

India Needs to Get the PoK Freed from Pakistan

By S Kumar https://bit.ly/2H4jHon   

Did Indian Submarine Enter Pak Waters?

By VK Gaur https://bit.ly/2TiGfYZ  

No Impact of Abhinandan’s Release on LoC

By Jaibans Singh - https://bit.ly/2VwLZLi  

Pakistan’s Posture Post Balakot: a Lull before the Storm

By Jasbir Sarai - https://bit.ly/2EP9TfM     

Why Pakistan Media is Silent on Masood Azhar?

By VK Gaur - https://bit.ly/2TiGfYZ   

Paradigm Shift in India's Pak and Terror Policy

By Major Saras C Tripathi - https://bit.ly/2Etkhs3  

IAF Bombs JeM Camps in PoK, 350 Terrorists Killed, Firing on LoC

By Onkareshwar Pandey - https://bit.ly/2GQ9P1o  

India’s Participation at OIC a Diplomatic Triumph for India: Najma Heptulla

By Brown Nongmaithem - https://bit.ly/2XwZ6OB  

Pakistan Releases Abhinandan, Now, India waits for Masood Azhar

By Onkareshwar Pandey - https://bit.ly/2En6VxC  

To Choose War or Terrorism

By Mallika Chugh - https://bit.ly/2TEQVk4  


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

INDIAN OBSERVER POST (IOP) is a Class, Creative, and Constructive News platform which publishes ONLY exclusive and Special News / Views / Interviews / Research Articles / Analysis / Columns / Features and Opinions on the national and international issues, politics, security, energy, innovation, infrastructure, rural, health, education, women, and entertainment. Email – editor@indianobserverpost.com


INDIAN OBSERVER POST (Eng) -www.indianobserverpost.com

INDIAN OBSERVER POST (Hindi) -www.indianobserverpost.in

IOP ON FACEBOOK - https://bit.ly/2SlmpLA

IOP TEAM BUREAUS & WRITERS - https://bit.ly/2LxOU2I

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih Email - SMS- 9910150119)


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GOLDEN SIGNATURES RESEARCH & CONSULTING (GSRC)

CONTACT US FOR -COFFEE TABLE BOOKS I KNOWLEDGE EVENTS I PR I ADVERTISING I BRAND BUILDING I DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION I VIDEO CONTENT I SOCIAL MEDIA I EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS I SECTOR EXPERTISE I GLOBAL OUTREACH I MARKET SURVEY I And - GOLDEN SIGNATURE AWARDS I E -goldensignatures20@gmail.com

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Browse By Tags