The Hindu Editorial (The halfway mark) 24 April 2019
The halfway mark: On Lok Sabha polls phase 3
Voting has taken place in 302 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the first three phases of polling. The third phase of polling on Tuesday was spread across 14 States and Union Territories, in 115 constituencies. In addition, polling for the East Tripura seat, which was postponed from April 18 after the EC concluded that the law and order situation there was not conducive to holding free and fair polls, took place on Tuesday. With the third phase, more than half the constituencies have voted, including all in the southern States and Gujarat. Voting trends indicate that the turnout, in general, would hover around the 2014 levels. The massive turnout in Kerala and higher turnouts in the tribal regions of Gujarat are noteworthy in the third phase and could influence the result. Through the second and third phases, the BJP tried to alter the beaten path of politics in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while doubling down on its Hindutva agenda in the Hindi heartland and Gujarat. The BJP’s strategy to retain power at the Centre now clearly involves limiting the inevitable losses in its strongholds, promoting friendly regional parties where its presence is limited and opening some new territories for itself. The manifestation of this strategy was visible in the one-sided actions of the Income Tax department in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that targeted only those from the Opposition parties. In the 16th Lok Sabha, the BJP had 21 of the 129 seats in the five southern States, 17 of them from Karnataka.
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In Kerala, the BJP appears to have made significant inroads by mobilising protests against the entry of all women into the Sabarimala shrine. During his tour of the State, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the BJP was an “inclusive, and democratic party”, thus soft-pedalling the hyper-nationalism that continues to be the mainstay of his campaigning in general. This attempt to sound reasonable to the diverse Kerala society runs parallel to the most corrosive demonstration of Hindutva till date during this election season, in the candidacy of Pragya Singh Thakur, who is an accused in terrorist attacks. Ms. Singh, the BJP candidate from Bhopal, has over the last few days made several inflammatory statements. Overall, the shrillness of the BJP rhetoric has only risen as campaigning gains momentum for the fourth phase. For his part, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has sought to underscore the link between national security and unemployment and terms his 2019 election as a fight for the survival of India as an inclusive and pluralistic country. Mr. Gandhi has kept the suspense alive on the possibility of his sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, contesting against Mr. Modi in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi constituency. If Ms. Vadra enters the fray as a candidate, it would doubtless alter some of the calculations about this election.
The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary Wordlist
1) NOTEWORTHY (Adj) = Important, ( उल्लेखनीय )
Synonyms = Conspicuous, Evident.
Antonyms = Common, Familiar
2) Inevitable (Adj) = Certain, ( अपरिहार्य )
Synonyms = Imminent, Impending.
Antonyms = Avoidable, Distant.
3) MANIFESTATION (Noun) = Exhibition, ( आविर्भाव )
Synonyms = Demonstration, Explanation.
Antonyms = Concealment, Hiding.
4) MOBILISE (Verb) = Ready for Action, ( संघटित करना )
Synonyms = Assemble, Marshal.
Antonyms = Disorganize, Discourage.
5) CORROSIVE (Adj) = Consuming, ( क्षयकर )
Synonyms = Acerbic, Caustic.
Antonyms = Gentle, Kind.
6) INFLAMMATORY (Adj) = Instigative, ( विद्रोहात्मक )
Synonyms = Incendiary, Provocative.
Antonyms = Calming, Mitigating.
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Daily Gk Tonic From The Hindu Editorial
Kerala, a state on India’s tropical Malabar Coast, has nearly 600km of Arabian Sea shoreline. It’s known for its palm-lined beaches and backwaters, a network of canals. Inland are the Western Ghats, mountains whose slopes support tea, coffee and spice plantations as well as wildlife. National parks like Eravikulam and Periyar, plus Wayanad and other sanctuaries, are home to elephants, langur monkeys, and tigers.
Chief minister: Pinarayi Vijayan
Population: 3.48 crores (2012)
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