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"India at a crossroads as country faces election"
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"India at a crossroads as country faces election"

Achuth MenonAs India prepares for general elections in May, Achuth Menon, 20, a Commonwealth Correspondent from India, reviews the track record of the contenders and what the election campaign means for voters.

India, renown as the largest democracy in the world, is all set for the general elections in May, wherein political parties are at a crossroads for supremacy. 

Yet as India marches on towards 68 years of independence the political scenario in the country has made future hopes look uncertain and bleak.

As we look back a decade to the point where the BJP demitted office in 2004 and Congress took the board, not much has been done for the betterment of our country. Albeit promises were made from roof tops, the Congress-led government didn’t live up to them; rather they appeared to loot the exchequer. 

The scams that rocked our nation, like the 2G scam, CWG scam, and Coalgate scam, are daylight heists which cost our exchequer mightily. The 2Gscam caused an enormous loss of 1.76lakh crores. Governance was not commendable but deplorable, as the people became wearied by their reign. 

As the opposition parties kept the ruling ones on tenterhooks because of their misconduct, soon came recession in 2008. That year our honourable Finance Minister P.A Chidabaram came out with a face-saving 70000cr loan waiver for farmers, yet the move failed to contain inflation. The episode plunged our economy in to a crisis. 

The past ten years have witnessed government mishandling, corruption and allegations of embezzlement, and adding to the fury even the Prime Minister came under question related to the Coalgate scam.

The opposition parties had a lot to smile about and capitalised on the acrimony of people towards the ruling government. They claimed the nation required a drastic change, for a leader who can come out with an elixir to cure all our debacles. They hailed the name of Narendra Modi, who has great reputation for his oratory and endorses modernisation with Gujurat model of governance for the Rennaissance of India. He is seen as a leader who is feared by Muslims because of his alleged role in the 2002 Gujurat riots. The party showed its strength by conducting massive rallies to assert undue influence on the common man and slowly as we say in India, the ‘Modi Wave’ started its breeze. 

But to his surprise anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare launched a fast against corruption in 2012, joined by more than 5 lakh people at Ramlila Maiden in our capital New Delhi. This agitation led to the birth of the Aam Admi party, the Common Man’s party, which grew at a break-neck pace. Within a year their growth started to haunt other parties.

By then came the assembly elections, considered to be a semi-final before the grand clash as the whole country was feeling the Modi Wave at its full swing. Assembly elections were contested in four states and the results clearly showed the grudge of people as the ruling parties were routed. In all four states except Delhi, surprisingly the one-year-old party clearly showed they are party spoilers. Even though BJP came out be the single largest party with 31 seats – falling short of majority – the ruling government was restricted to a measly eight seats. Yet the Modi Wave didn’t create any landfall in the capital, thus constituting a hung assembly. 

The Common Man’s party showed the temerity to form the government with the support of Congress and independent MLA, and crowned Arvind Kejriwal as the chief minister. 

As the ruling Congress realised it is in a quagmire because of its misconduct, it came out with a series of bills like the food security bill, land acquisition bill, and communal bill so as to win the hearts of the people.

As 50 per cent of India’s population is dominated by youth, the congress took the final arrow from its quiver by offering Rahul Gandhi as its candidate for Prime Minister. Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the Gandhi family, is not a maverick or an erudite speaker. His naivety in politics is clearly evident compared to other young lads in the party.

The factor to be taken in mind and not yet debated is the emergence of a third front in this general election, as they have a major role to play in this political extravaganza. Until now 11 parties have showed their consent to join hands to vanquish the Congress BJP and the fledgling Aam Admi Party. The dilemma faced by third front is that each leader desires to be the Prime Minister if they steer through the elections to victory. This may end in a feud.

Among all this commotion, hate speeches between parties leave our population, who strive for day-to-day well being as our brothers and sisters, still without proper clothing, shelter, or food for sustenance. The common man has become unhappy at seeing this scrimmage for power. Our people look forward to a change when every general election approaches, as they dream about the better days awaiting them. 

photo credit: Deepankar Raj via photopin cc

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About me:
I am a graduate in commerce from the University of Calicut, with a diploma in journalism. At present I am a reporter for Associated News of India based at Palakkad, which serves print, electronic, and web-based media in different parts of the country.

I have inherent passion, dedication and enthusiasm. My motivation as a journalist is to give coverage of the oppressed and suppressed that will bring their challenges and issues to the attention of people at the helm of affairs.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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