LokSabha 2019: The season of political gimmicks is here, yet citizens must vote

Megha Choudhary
Sunday, 7 April 2019

With general elections around the corner, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to lure voters with poll gimmicks. It is a common practice to make big promises during election season to attract votes.

With general elections around the corner, political parties are leaving no stone unturned to lure voters with poll gimmicks. It is a common practice to make big promises during election season to attract votes. However, it may be frustrating for voters if the promises are not kept. Similarly, allegations and counter allegations are at a peak. More than highlighting their own performances and their goals on development in their constituencies, party leaders highlight the failures of others and cross all limits, bringing about bitterness and politicising every trivial issue. 

The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19, while the counting will be done on May 23. 

The antics of the political parties could easily be called the ‘Great Indian Political Circus’ and would be an entertaining watch, except that at the end there is a winner who gets the mandate to rule the country for the next five years. 

Promises and controversies 
One way for a political party to win the election is by making a big promise. The rival party then makes a bigger promise and ridicules the former’s promise. Thus, promises grow bigger and bigger. Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s promise of minimum income guarantee to the poor is what the party claims to be a ‘historic decision’. This decision was well received by the people. Albeit, this scheme has not been implemented en masse anywhere in the world. Now, the NDA is expected to ridicule this policy and perhaps make a bigger promise. The action on this issue is still unfolding.

The announcement by the Congress to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has drawn severe criticism from defence veterans. Defence personnel should be protected in disturbed areas. The move may attract votes of leftists but that may not amount to much gain.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah’s statement that his party will strive for having a ‘Sadar-e-Riyasat’ (President) and ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister) for Jammu & Kashmir shocked most Indians, as J&K is an inseparable part of India and such a move could damage the federal structure of the country. However, many national parties maintained silence on this point. Omar on his part, was, of course, politically motivated to project himself as a ‘true’ Kashmiri leader.

The BJP is counting on the work done so far and trying to take credit for ‘surgical strikes and air strikes’ against Pakistan. The party is going gaga over its decisions like Goods and Services Tax (GST). However, some issues like farm distress, unemployment, black money, healthcare, inflation are still there. The main opposition party, the Congress is trying to cash in on BJP’s unfulfilled promises.

Party hoppers 
For a political party, it is not possible to give Lok Sabha tickets to every aspirant. This becomes a prestige issue for senior politicos. So election time is when party hoppers switch over to one of their choice, probably that which offers them a ticket!

Among the notables who left the BJP for the Congress is Shatrughan Sinha. 

Navjot Singh Sidhu also severed his ties with the BJP and joined the Congress in 2017 and was in controversy for his ‘pro-Pak’ stance. However, according to some reports, he is receiving a setback from the Congress in this election season.

Many Congress leaders also joined BJP, and big names included Sonia Gandhi’s aide Tom Vadakkan, Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil’s son Sujay Vikhe-Patil. Similarly, 15 BSP leaders in UP joined BJP, thus giving a jolt to the Grand Alliance. 

Allegations and counter-allegations
Allegations and counter-allegations take centre stage during the poll season. Parties do their best in proving they are the most capable while the rest are failures. 

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi never miss a chance to attack each other. This gives social media users an opportunity to take on both leaders. During election season, #RahulvsModi remains trending on social media with supporters of both parties taking jibes and posting memes on the two leaders.

Sitting outside the arena of the election circus, the audience - the voters observe all this. What is important for a voter is to weigh the work done by aspirants in their constituencies before making the decision on whom to vote. Every voter has to decide if the poll promises are gimmicks by political parties or are genuine promises that are achievable. Voters have to see whether the person has any criminal record and whether the person is true to his words. The election is the time to exercise your franchise for good governance by voting for the right candidate. Complaining post-election will be of no use as the voters’ decision is irreversible for five years.

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