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National - Elections 2004 Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

POLL-POURRI

Lucky oversight?

The Government may have been prompt in obeying the Election Commission order and removed/covered up its advertisements from vantage locations across the country; but, either by design or oversight, the National Highways Authority of India continues to issue toll tickets to commuters with the bottom-line "Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Dream Project - NHDP." As recently as last Sunday, these tickets were being issued to commuters in Karnal on the Delhi-Jalandhar sector by the NHAI. The question that is being asked is whether this is permissible given that the model code of conduct is in place; particularly since the Election Commission has issued orders clearly stating that all hoardings/advertisements placed at public expense should be removed.

The NHAI has complied with the order in most places and covered up the big hoardings about the Prime Minister's dream project. But, the same `advertisement' remains - albeit in fine print - on every toll ticket issued.

The caste factor

Getting the caste combination right is perhaps the key to electoral success in Uttar Pradesh. No wonder, the Congress party sought to get the equation right when its leaders entered the fray. For instance, when Rahul Gandhi filed his nomination for the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency, the party had people from different castes proposing his candidature: Ram Sevak, Shivlal Pasai, Asish Shukla and Vinod Mishra. In Rae Bareli, Congress President Sonia Gandhi's proposers include Dr. Muslim, Kamal Nayan Verma and Ashok Singh; in the case of Satish Sharma in Sultanpur, the proposing was done by Raj Kishore Singh, Munir Ahmed, J.N. Tiwari and Jai Raj Gautam; in other words, a backward, minorities and Brahmin combination.

Take your pick

The seven party front headed by the DMK in Tamil Nadu is the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA). But this abbreviation — DPA — has come in handy for non-DPA alliance parties to interpret it in their own way. Soon after the formation of the alliance, which saw the exit of the Dalit Panthers party from the DMK fold in January, the Dalit Panthers leader, Thol. Thirumavalavan, described the DPA as a `Dalit Prohibited Alliance.' Now, after the finalisation of candidates by the major parties of the DPA, the BJP's national secretary, L. Ganesan has come out with a new definition. The fielding of Mr. Dayanidhi Maran, son of former Union Minister Murasoli Maran, by the DMK in Chennai Central Parliamentary Constituency and Mr. Rahul Gandhi as the Congress candidate in Amethi, only showed that the DPA was nothing but a `Dynasty Promoting Alliance.'

— Anita Joshua, K.V. Prasad, V. Venkatasubramanian

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