Now there are two: on last two phases of Lok Sabha polls
In the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, just 51 seats across seven States went to the polls, but its outcome could be critical to the fortunes of the BJP. It had won 39 of these seats in 2014, and its allies two. In fact, the BJP’s hopes of retaining power at the Centre, and therefore the Opposition’s hopes of defeating it, hinge a lot on their respective performances in the fifth and the next two phases.
As with the previous four phases, the voter turnout was similar to that in 2014; initial estimates were that the cumulative turnout for the 51 seats was 63.26% on Monday, compared to 61.75% in 2014. One of Indian democracy’s big successes has been the high number of registered voters who exercise their franchise; and as turnouts remain healthy, old theories about the incumbency or anti-incumbency potential of such turnouts have crumbled. What, however, continues to be the hallmark of Election 2019 is the sustained attempt by the BJP to prevent the campaign from being about its own record of five years in office. In an unseemly and controversial statement ahead of the fifth phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raked up the Bofors controversy with an uncharitable reference to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
He followed it up with a challenge to Congress president Rahul Gandhi to debate Rajiv Gandhi’s term in office, three decades ago. Mr. Modi also used the campaigner’s pulpit to liken cross-border military operations undertaken by Indian forces during the Congress regime to “video games”. In turn, the Congress charged Mr. Modi with double standards as he had earlier sought to place the armed forces beyond scrutiny and accused those who raised questions on their performance of being unpatriotic.
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Politicians, dead and living, are legitimate subjects of public scrutiny as much as armed forces and the security establishment, particularly during elections. But such debates must be conducted in a civil tenor and within limits — and in a manner that informs pressing matters of governance.
It is unclear whether Mr. Modi’s statements would have helped the Congress in Amethi and Rae Bareli, constituencies from which Mr. Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi, respectively, are contesting and which went to the polls in the fifth phase. Mr. Modi has also tried to create a wedge in the Opposition by repeatedly stating that Bahujan SamajParty chief Mayawati was the victim of a conspiracy between her alliance partner and Samajwadi Party chief, Akhilesh Yadav, and the Congress.
The BJP’s resistance to any focus on issues of livelihood and liberty has put the burden on the Opposition parties to pull public discourse back towards policy, something they have managed with varying and often dismal degrees of success.
The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary Wordlist
1) CUMULATIVE (Adj) = Accumulative, ( संचयमान )
Synonyms = increasing, aggregate
Antonyms = Decreasing, Declining
2) INCUMBENCY (Noun) = tenure, ( कार्यकाल )
Synonyms = regime, occupancy
Antonyms = assets, draftee
3) CRUMBLE (Verb) = collapse, ( चूर चूर होना )
Synonyms = disintegrate, decay
Antonyms = build, improve
4) SCRUTINY (Noun) = Examination, ( सूक्ष्म परीक्षण )
Synonyms = investigation, inspection
Antonyms = glance, neglect
5) UNPATRIOTIC (Adj) = Disloyal, ( अ देशभक्त )
Synonyms = traitorous, faithless.
Antonyms = loyal, patriotic
6) LEGITIMATE (Adj) = Legal, ( उचित )
Synonyms = lawful, valid
Antonyms = illegal, illegitimate
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