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Lowdown of Simultaneous Election

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When it comes to the celebration of festivals, probably no other country in the world can beat us in terms of sheer numbers which we have here in India. The dates of our annual calendar are always filled with colours, signifying one festival or the other. Festivals are generally a cultural and historical attribute of the society. But they are not only restricted to these aspects. Like other democracies, we have political festivals too in the form of elections, but here also we outnumber the other democracies.

We have adopted three tier of government in our polity. First at Central level, next at state level and third at local level. To elect the representatives of all three levels we have separate elections of Parliament, state legislature and to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Panchayats. In recent years, on an average we had two elections each year and many ULB elections. To conduct an election is a massive exercise in India, reasons are: humongous size of country as a whole as well as states (many of them are large than many European Countries), diverse population, administrative and infrastructural cost and many more.

 So the idea to conduct simultaneous election has been in and around in past also. But recent aggressive push by current government under the stewardship of Prime Minister has made the pitch higher. The only difference in the demand of holding simultaneous election is that the PM has pitched to hold the election of all three elections at one shot including Panchayats.

What’s the history?

Simultaneous Election is not a new concept to India. We had first general election in 1951-52. After the first Parliamentary Election, we had the simultaneous election to the parliament and state legislature till next three times also i.e. in 1957, 1962 and 1967. After 1967 general election, the stronghold of single party domination in India got loosened in few states and it gave the space to the regional parties. But at few occasions regional parties formed coalition government which did not complet its full terms and resulted in premature dissolution. Same thing happened to the Central Government in 1970 and due to lack of majority the Parliament, it got dissolved and fresh elections were held in 1971. Since then the sync which has prevailed over the Parliament and state election finally broken and we reached at point where every year we have more than one elections.

Argument for Simultaneous Election:

The proponent of the joint election rightly points out several benefits. One of the major flaws of having multiple elections, they say, is that it always keeps the government in “Election Mode” and they are hardly able focus on governance. Every election to the state is seen by the political analysts and commentators as the litmus test and they term them as quarter final, semi final to the General Election. In democracy no party wants to lose the momentum, hence government indulges themselves to the populism leaving space of prudence in governance.

When election dates are declared, Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes in to force, where there are several restrictions on government to announce or materialize the schemes for the welfare of the people. Having multiple elections means several MCC and government find themselves hamstrung.

Conducting various elections means administrative as well as financial burden on the limited resource of the country. Requirement of the relocation of police force, election equipments, and mobilization of district administration is cumbersome as well as costly.

Government Teacher plays a very crucial role in conducting the election. But this is not their primary task. It affects the education of the students of the government schools who are already at the disadvantaged side due to several limitations when compared to their counter part of private schools.

There is no doubt that election commission as well as government is trying very hard to reduce the corruption in the election, but despite of several measures, corruption is rampant in election. Money power speaks loudly during the election. Hence more election means more use of dirty money and more loss to democratic ethos.

Frequent Elections also disrupts the normal life by suspending or affecting the supplies of the essential commodities, by jamming the traffic for election rallies, huge rise in noise pollution etc.

One of the debilitating features of the Indian election is that many parties tries to divide the society on  caste, communal, gender line etc. for their vested interest of winning the election, which is highly undesirable for the social fabric of life. When more election happens there are more chances of division in the society.

So keeping all these points in mind, holding simultaneous election seems plausible and desirable thing to ponder upon.

Ideas against it:

Former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi has notably mentioned that “Having simultaneous election is desirable but not feasible”. There are multiple constitutional, practical and administrative restriction prevents this idea from materializing. Indeed, the concerns are genuine.

The first concern is that it negates the principle of Parliamentary Democracy (PD) and Constitution. In Indian PD a government at center is entitled for five year of governance if they secure majority and can dissolve it according to the whim of the ruling party and can be removed by passing no confidence motion. This idea is true as well for the state legislature. So when holding both election will be materialize, this principle has to die down.

The second concern is that this is against the idea of Federalism. Imagine a situation when no party will be able to secure majority in the state election and neither nay coalition government is formed, then according to prevailing procedure President Rule will be applied. So will the President rule be for the entire five year period when the next election will be held? And what if the Central Government falls in mid way? All the 29 state would have to go in for the election again, even when there is a stable government in states?

The next concern is that, state and national issues are different and hence the elections are held differently. But according to IDFC, a research institute, there has been a tendency with the voter that they increasingly vote for the same party if the elections are held together. In recent times that number is about 77% percent which is huge. Keeping this figure in mind, it appears that it will only help the national party and the regional party will be seriously disadvantaged and which is against Democratic Principle which provides level playing field for other.

The other advantage of the separate election is that it keeps the government at toes all the time and prevents them from being despotic through the exercise of their voting power. Last but not the least is the concern of “Political Consensus” on such a contentious issue which needs Constitutional Amendment.

Expert and Panels opinion:

Way back in 1999 Law Commission in its 170th report on “Electoral Reform” has suggested the idea of Simultaneous Election. Though, it was kept in cold storage since then. Recently Parliamentary Standing committee setup for the specific purpose also suggested the holding up simultaneous election but with some modification and further suggestions. Out of many, one is of having state election twice, one with parliament and other in midterm of it. Former President Shri Pranab Mukharjee, while addressing joint session of parliament, also opined in favour of simultaneous election.

So overall we can see that there are numerous benefits lies in holding all the elections at one go, but there are genuine and serious challenges occupies in its implementation which certainly can’t be ignored. The most serious challenge is the constitutional, challenge to the idea of Parliamentary Democracy and Federalism. But looking as a whole, the benefits outnumber the challenges. Prior to GST, Centre had different tax means and the state had different ones. Post implementation GST is touted as “One Nation, One Tax and One Market”, which apparently can be seen as from being a federal subject to Central Subject. Now both are clubbed together for the benefit of both and all party came to consensus along with states,  what we call it a greatest example of co-operative federalism.

Same idea and principle should be applied here. A rigorous discussion and deliberation should be held inviting all the stake holders which includes all the political parties (including regional ones), member from the academia, civil societies, expert from the constitutional realm and if needed foreign experience should also be taken in account. Finally, to quote Victor Hugo “no force on earth can stop an idea, whose time has come” seems quite reasonable here. The whole idea of democracy hinges on consensus, we have to see that are we able to reach to consensus on this idea or not?

Aptitude!

He seemed to be in too much hurry, as he should be, because the train which he was boarding has already picked up the speed and about to cross the platform. He had a bucket full of packaged drinking water which he probably intended to sell in the train’s coach. I was standing near the door of the coach and watching him. Somehow he managed to get in but during this process, his one of the slipper fell off the train. The trained had gathered enough speed that even an expert vendor couldn’t risk getting down. He did the right thing. He did not get down the train. But his one unexpected move caught me by surprise. He threw his other slipper in the backward direction with some force and smiled.

I assumed he might have thought that on his return journey he will collect his pair of slipper. I asked him “Do you believe that your pair of slipper will be there when you will return back to this station”.

He responded “This thought did not even come in my mind that I will get my slipper back. I just threw it as I can’t do anything with single piece neither any other person can do anything with the second one. I just discarded second one hoping that it might make a perfect pair for some other person.”

I was moved not just by his considerate behavior but his aptitude.

मैं, मेरी बहना और ये राखी …

संग आज नहीं हो तुम मेरे
ये कैसी होनी है?
मिठास नहीं है मुख में मेरे
कलाई भी सूनी है!

उदास मन से मैंने उसे
वीडियो कॉल  लगाया
राखी पर घर में न होने की
अंतर्व्यथा बताया

सोचा था मन की व्यथा
उधर भी वैसी ही होगी
मेरी अनुपस्थिति तो शायद
उसे भी खूब खली होगी

पर शैतानी हँसी देख
मैं भौचक्का रह गया
राखी के अवसर पर डिमांड  सुनकर
मैं हक्का-बक्का हो गया

कहा उसने
“तुम हो कहीं भी, अमेज़न पर मेरे लिए
आज ही iPhone X आर्डर कर  देना
और हो सके तो मेरी तरफ से
कलाई पर, एक राखी बांध लेना”

मैंने मन में सोचा
“क्या घोर कलयुग
इतनी जल्दी ही आ गया
भाई बहन के दिव्य रिश्ते को
भौतिक iPhone X खा गया !!!

😂😂😂

………अभय…….

क्यों भाईयों, क्या आपके संग भी ऐसा ही हुआ..और बहनों अपने कुछ ऐसा ही किया …….

दीप, अंधकार, प्रकाश और मैं..

नमस्ते मित्रों, कैसे हैं आप लोग? पिछले कुछ समय से समय की व्यस्तता के कारण हिंदी कविताओं का सृजन और उनका प्रेषण नहीं कर पा रहा था. पर सिर्फ समय को दोष दूँ तो कोई ठीक बात नहीं, समय के संग संग मन में भी विचार पनपने चाहिए और खास कर तब जबकि आप कोई पेशेवर कवि न हों.
कई दिनों बाद आज कुछ विचार आया आप तक पहुँचाता हूँ, ज़रा संभालना 🙂

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जो तुम दीप बुझा दोगे अपनी
घोर अँधेरी रातों में
और सोचोगे कि मैं अब संग मौजूद नहीं
तो मैं बता दूँ आपको कि
मैं न तो प्रदीप्त प्रकाश हूँ
न ही खामोश अंधकार कोई
मेरा अस्तित्व न तो
चंद दीयों पर निर्भर करता है
दीये के जलने पर भी मैं हूँ
दीये के बुझने पर भी मैं ही
माना नज़र न आ सकूँ
पर नज़र न आना और अस्तित्व न होना
दोनों एक बात तो नहीं
बोलो, है कि नहीं ?

…….अभय…….

बस तेरा इंतज़ार है..

universe_download
Credit: Google Image

धम से गिरे
धरनी पर
शिखर से,
ज़ख्म गहरा हुआ
चोट हरा हुआ
पर गिरने का यह पहला
वाक़या तो न था
कई पहले भी लुढ़के
गिरे गर्त में
वर्षों तक
सिसकते रहे
मरणासन्न रहे
संवेदनहीन रहे
निर्जीव सा गौण रहे
व्योम सा मौन रहे
पर लड़ते रहे
जूझते रहे
झुलसते रहे
आपदाओं में
विपदाओं से
लोगों की विष भरी
बोली से
आलोचकों की अगणित
टोली से
तो तुम जो गिर गए
तो इसमें नया क्या था?
कि अब तुम उठते ही नहीं
कि तन के ज़ख्म भी
जब सूखते हैं
हम उसे कुरेदते नहीं हैं
तो मन के ज़ख्म पर
ये अत्याचार क्यों?
स्मरण रहे कि
जो शिखर पर तुम पहुंचे थे
तब भी पुरुषार्थ लगा था
फिर से पुरुषार्थ लगेगा
कि तुममें जो नैसर्गिक है
वो भला तुमसे कौन लेगा?
कि अब दुर्बलता छोड़ो
कि सब तैयार हैं
हिमालय की
सबसे ऊँची चोटी को
बस तेरा इंतज़ार है

…….अभय …….

कविता का भाव आप लोगों तक पहुंचा हो, तो अपने भाव मुझ तक पहुँचाना न भूलें 🙂

शब्द सहयोग:
गौण: Subordinate, Secondary
व्योम: Sky, Space
नैसर्गिक: Inherent

My saga with Indian Railway

What is “adventure”? There can be multiple explanation of this term. According to me when you do something without much planning, will automatically become adventure. Isn’t it?

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Traveling in Indian Railway will also turn in to adventure when you haven’t have planned the journey in advance and booked the ticket 3-4 months prior to the departure date. The population pressure is so much on Indian Railway that getting a confirmed berth in the train on short notice is a humongous challenge. Tatkal Ticket is an option but it is very dicey. You cannot be certain that you will secure a berth due to multiple factor associated with it, such as your typing speed, internet speed, payment gateway response, server side response etc.

Recently I had to visit New Delhi from my hometown, but the concern was that I haven’t planned the journey in advance and hence getting a confirm berth was next to impossible. Even after trying on three occasions on three different days with two different devices simultaneously, I failed to get the Tatkal Ticket. I was disheartened but did not lose hope. Next day I thought to book a ticket from Howrah Junction, as it has very large number of train towards Delhi than that of my city. I checked the availability of berth in different train for next five days, but again I met with disappointment as all the AC coaches of all the trains were in waiting list. Then I searched for sleeper class, the story was more or less same. I thought what has happened to whole country, why they all are heading towards Delhi now. “Delhi Chalo” was a slogan propagated long ago. My father said that due to convergence of summer vacation of schools and colleges and the being an auspicious time for marriage (Lagan as we call it) for Hindus, getting ticket will be difficult. But then suddenly my eyes lit up on seeing that Durunto Express was having seats in sleeper class and showing RAC/103. I instantly booked the ticket hoping it will get confirmed as it has four days left before the departure.

The D-Day arrived but I became perplexed after knowing that my seat did not get confirmed and I had to share my seat with one more guy for whole 22+ hours journey (that’s what happen when your seats remains in RAC i.e. Reservation Against Cancellation). The problem with me is my height, though am not very tall but tall enough that side berths of the train coaches always seems a restrain for me to completely stretch my legs and now on side lower birth, sharing with another person, who is unknown to me for such a long journey that too in very hot summer in sleeper class was frightening for me.

I just left my luggage on my bert and ran in search of the Train Ticket Examiner (TTE). On searching multiple coaches I finally reached to him. I requested him that since my RAC number is now moved to 6 so there must be chances that I will get a confirmed berth. That TTE was very rude! He spoke in Bengali Language, which I can understand but can’t speak fluently, that no seats are available and there are no chances of getting it available. I asked why you are so sure without examining the passengers and that too my RAC is just at 6 and it’s very probable that I will get one. He responded scathingly “Don’t teach me my job”. Seeing the situation getting worse, I left the place and sat on my allocated berth.

A person in his 50s was already there. He seems to be very serious person. I thought, this journey is going to be a tough one for me. Then suddenly a gentleman came to us and asked “Would you mind giving this berth to us?” My co-passenger became furious and said “We have already got half of the seat from the government, even when we have paid for whole and you still want to relinquish this for you, do you expect me to sleep on floor?”.

That gentleman responded politely “Sir I will offer both of you a separate berth which is in different coach. We are four and two seats are here in this coach and two are in different. So if you both will vacate this seat then we will have three berths at one place and four of my family member will settle here together and you both will also get comfortable berths there”

I was simply ecstatic. Partly because I needed a sound sleep desperately because I hadn’t had any since last 24 hours and partly because, I felt very annoyed by the response of TTE. I am pretty sure that if I had offered bribe to him, he would have readily gave me the separate berth.

Anyway, I thanked the gentleman but requested him that once the TTE will come I will show my attitude to him first and then leave the place. Soon TTE came and asked for tickets, when he asked me. I presented it before him and said to the person (who offered his berth to us) next to me “some government appointed person considers himself as the king of the institution where they are supposed to serve, thank you Sir for giving me your berth I am really very grateful to you.” My only purpose was to make the TTE hear that I got a seat till Delhi that too without offering him bribe. TTE looked very disgruntled but nothing he could do about it. He left the place agonizingly. I was smiling cunningly as he was leaving the place. I was happy. My purpose was completed. I got an upper berth where I could stretch my leg without any constrain and also I had made the TTE role a little subdued.

But even though I got an upper berth, situation was not pleasing. It was very hot inside. My every attempt to dose off was in vain. People around me were also not helping the cause. Many of them were furious about the way BJP tried to “Kill the Democracy” in Karnatka and some were defending their act.

I decided to step down and thought of drenching my head and washing my face with water so to get some relief from scorching heat. Indian Railway has done a curry favor that it has let the coaches of sleeper class and AC class connected and I fully utilized this arrangement. I went straight to the washroom which was meant for the First Class for the obvious reason of its cleanliness and hygiene. Inside it, first thing which I did was to see my face and my hair which seems to be like someone after electric shock. It was flying all around. I looked towards wash basin just to get some water so as to wet my hair with it, but suddenly I saw a phone was lying on the rack just beside wash basin.

Without hesitation I picked up the phone and you won’t believe it was of the same brand which is considered best in the world. Yes! The same which you may have thought. Someone must have forgotten it. Frankly speaking, N number of thoughts came to my mind. Who’s phone it might be. Even if, I would like to return it, then whom to return? If I will ask any person they will surely stake a claim. If I give it to the TTE, he will surely devour it. Why should not I keep this phone with me as it’s me who have found it and in any case if I give it authorized one(TTE), every chances are there that they will not let this phone to reach the right person. Then a parallel though came that how the person would feel if he will come to know that he has lost his phone.

After entertaining all these thoughts, I finally decided that I will wait near the door of the coach just near by the washroom and if any person will come searching for it then I will return to him/her by asking the security code to unlock the phone. I waited there for 15-20 minutes. Nobody came with that intention, I became puzzled and though what to do now?

I picked up the phone in my hand and pressed the unlock button. I was flabbergasted to see that phone didn’t have any security code and it got unlocked. Now a hell lot of option opened in front of me. I can dial any numbers from it to anyone in the contact list. I searched the recent call and dialed a number which was named as “Son Mohsin”. The man picked up the call and I narrated him the whole story. He sounded very much desperate as well as grateful to me. He said that he has recently gifted this phone to his dad on his 55th birthday. But the question was not solved. How I will recognize his father? He was also unaware of the coach and berth number. He asked to wait me for 5 minutes so that he can get the details from his younger brother who came there to see off his father at the station.

Within few minutes I got the call and details and it was Coach A1 Berth-4. Again the man showed his gratitude and said that it is very rare gesture these days which I have shown. To tell you the truth I also felt very happy as my ego was gratified by hearing my praise. I went straight into the compartment with the intention of returning the phone. As if destiny has more surprises for me, the person on A1-4 was none other than my Physics teacher of 12th standard Imran Ali!!!

On seeing me he immediately recognized and expressed his happiness. Then I asked him “Sir! Have you lost anything”? Then he searched his pocket and brought out one basic phone and his wallet from it and said no everything is with him. Then I showed him the phone and he was shocked and said “Oh! Yes this is also mine. My son has gifted me few days back. I almost forget it, but where did you get it”? I narrated the whole story and he said “Thanks to Allah! In the holy month of Ramzan he chose this method to bring you in front of him. God is great”! He again continued “Do you know this is very costly phone. I scolded my son when he gave me such a big phone, as this small phone is sufficient to fulfill all my needs. If anyone else has got this phone surely he would not have returned it. I am proud of you, not because this phone belonged to me but because you chose right path, this is the success of a teacher”. We talked for another half an hour and I touched his feet on leaving the coach. He patted on my back. I smiled back.

I was very satisfied and smiling, but when I was exiting the coach and returning towards my sleeper class another person was looking at me with cunning smile, he was the same TTE. He asked “you were in AC first class compartment, show me your ticket” And whatever happened after that was embarrassing for me. Rest is up to you to imagine what might have happened to me….

Hope you would have liked the narration. Do let me know your views!!!