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

POLL-POURRI

Darkness at noon A campaign to counter the BJP's "India Shining" was launched last week in Mumbai with a booklet titled, "Is India really Shining?" Compiled by "a group of professionals committed to a democratic India," the booklet is part of a "Vote with your conscience campaign," launched jointly by Insaaniyat, a movement for communal harmony and human rights, EKTA, the Forum Against Oppression of Women, INSAF and other like-minded groups and individuals.

"India lives in darkness and not in light," said Jairus Banaji, historian and writer, at the launch of the campaign. He said the India Shining campaign was a huge abstraction from reality. "We must not elect a communal government in this country or it could well be the last one we will elect," said Mr. Banaji.

Cricket blamed The ongoing India-Pakistan cricket series is proving costly for the candidates of the mainstream political parties. Following the dictum, `strike while the iron is hot,' youngsters who breathe, eat and drink cricket during the summer vacations, are demanding cricket kits from politicians. Not wanting to hurt the sentiments of the young voters, politicians are falling in line. A prominent TDP leader in Andhra Pradesh's Nalgonda district has been forced to dole out money to buy about 150 cricket kits, each one costing between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 3,000. A Congress MLA has had to buy 100 kits. "Either the India-Pakistan series or the elections should have been postponed," said a leader, who is facing "bouncers" for failing to meet the demands of the youth.

`Freedom' curbed About 200 senior citizens who go for morning walks, those who practice yoga and the scores of youth who play in the evenings, have been prohibited from entering a park in Warangal till April 20. Reason: a temporary fuel-filling centre for helicopters has been set up nearby. Those questioning the decision were curtly told: "The helicopters may come and go at anytime."

On Monday last, several VIPs visited the district — Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu addressed a public meeting at Mahabubabad; TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao visited Parkal; and BJP national president M Venkaiah Naidu along with cine actress Vijayashanti visited Shayampet and Hanamkonda. Most of them came by helicopter.

"It is very bad. We have no place for morning walks till the elections are over," rued a senior citizen.

Meena Menon, S. Ramu, G. Srinivasa Rao

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