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ELECTION DISCOURSE

Young Bites. Dated: 5/14/2019 11:26:14 AM

In the sixth and penultimate round of voting in different parts of the country, including the nation's capital Delhi, which for a variety of reasons draws attention to itself, the polling percentages till fairly close to the end of voting seem to be indicative of a very average level of voter enthusiasm. This is unlikely to be suggestive of a wave in favour of any party. In West Bengal, the voting percentage was much higher than in other states but broadly conformed to the pattern seen in the earlier rounds as well as in 2014. There have been deficiencies galore in the conduct of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Political parties, especially the ruling party and its leaders, have degraded the level of election-time discourse through coarse language, the shrillness increasing with every passing phase in order to get their supporters to vote in large numbers. There has been no dearth of communal incitement by Hindutva-oriented outfits either. However, none of this appears to have impressed voters too much. This can be seen in two aspects of voter behaviour. The first is the near complete absence of violence while campaigning or voting. Some violence was reported from West Bengal, where competition between the Trinamul Congress and the BJP was intense all through the campaign. But in the larger scheme of things, not too much can be made of this. On the communal front too, the voters this time have not responded to any bait. Uttar Pradesh, which had been the hotbed of communal politics in 2014, and saw riots break out just before voting, appeared to be remarkably composed. The calm voter attitude has been the real takeaway from this election so far

 

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