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Elections 2019: A do or die battle for so many!

So the battle lines have been drawn for the Lok Sabha elections. The NDA led by BJP has lost a few prized members, notably the Telugu Desam Party and the PDP of Jammu & Kashmir. There were also dissensions on the part of a few regional parties. The BJP, after the setback in the recent elections to the assemblies at Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, has acted fast in building an alliance with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and also patched up its differences with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The AIADMK and the DMK, the traditional rivals, have also adopted a less rigid stance in building alliances with diverse regional parties. Just look at the contrast: under Jayalalithaa, the party opted to go alone in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and won 37 of the 39 seats. The main opposition party DMK did not get a single representative returned to the Lok Sabha. The party accommodated more liberally other parties in the subsequent elections to the state assembly and fared well in the 1996 elections. This time, like the AIADMK, DMK is also more liberal in accommodating almost half the seats to other parties in alliance like the Congress, MDMK, VCK…
For the first time in their history, the two leading Dravidian parties miss their charismatic leaders. Remember, the spirited campaigns waged by their iconic leaders, J Jayalalithaa, and M Karunanidhi?
The manifestos of the contesting parties continue to rely on projecting the welfare content and are liberal in promising freebies; this notwithstanding the poor state of the state’s finances. Successive budgets have shown huge revenue and fiscal deficits compelling the state to go for more borrowings. In less than a decade TN’s public debt had quadrupled from around Rs 100 crore in 2010-11. This has implication with its increasing in outgo through interest and other debt servicing costs. Three items of expenditure – salaries and pensions to government employees, subsidies and interest costs – together account for expenditure quite in excess of total revenues of the state.
The compulsions of electoral politics do not provide for any corrections. The contesting parties continue to focus on the short term electoral arithmetic. While the state has performed well in terms of a wide range of welfare indices and has been recording impressive economic growth, it is hampered by the lack of resources needed for capital expenditure. Elections to the city corporations, municipalities and panchayats have not been held as per constitutional requirements. Thus democratic functioning suffers at the grass root level.
The present AIADMK is in power for three years since 2016. But the split in the party after the demise of J Jayalalithaa has threatened the stability of the government. It is surviving due to the disqualification of its 18 members. By-elections to these seats are to be held along with the Lok Sabha elections. The splinter group headed by T T V Dinakaran would fight hard to retain these seats. Other parties in opposition, notably the DMK, are also keen contenders for these seats. A defeat of a substantial number of these seats by AIADMK would lead to the fall of E K Palaniswami government. Thus the stakes are high, both for the DMK and the AIADMK.
Already for over a month the state and the country have been in the election mode. Holding the elections over a long period extending over 35 days and taking time to count and announce the results provide another month for the formation and settling down of the new government
. This would effectively mean paralysis of administration for months.
In spite of all modern technology and infrastructure at its disposal, should the Election Commission take this long to conduct the elections?

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