On 12/6/2012 Election Commission announced the dates for presidential election. Strange are the ways of Election Commission. They announce elections for Legislative Assemblies six months before the expiry of the term and club various state elections together though announcement before 40 days is enough and clubbing elections together is not necessary and right. In case of presidential election the law provides for announcement 60 days before the expiry of the term and Election Commission announced the dates 43 days before the expiry of the term. Soon there will be vacancy of vice president but Election Commission has not clubbed together elections of president and vice president. S. Y. Qureshi was CEC when 60 days were left i.e., on 25/5/2012. He should have announced the election but did not do so and retired on 10/6/2012. Perhaps he was waiting for Congress to announce its candidate. On 11/6/2012 V. S. Sampath became CEC and next day at 5.30 p.m. he announced the election.
Election for the President of India is due within a few months. There is a possibility that UPA government may fall and Lok Sabha be dissolved. The election will be valid even if Lok Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies are dissolved and only elected members of Rajya Sabha vote in the election. Nominated members of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies do not have the right to vote in presidential election.
Modesty forbids me from mentioning the best person who should become the President. I will mention some good and better persons.
India Against Corruption seems to have lost direction and momentum in fight against corruption. IAC wanted a Lokpal Bill. That did not happen. They wanted right to reject and right to recall. Both are unlikely to happen soon. Anna Hazare seems unable or unwilling to lead the agitation. Other members should resume the fight against corruption.
IAC members need not go on indefinite fast. They can go on chain hunger strike. Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan can fast for some hours every day. Then Shazia Ilmi, Gaurav Bakshi and Manish Sisodia can take their turn. Then some other people fast. Every day the cycle is repeated. The fight for Lokpal should be separate from fight for Lokayuktas.
The results of elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur are out. In UP, SP got absolute majority. In Uttarakhand out of 70 seats Congress got 32, BJP got 31. In Punjab, SAD-BJP coalition retained power. In Goa, BJP displaced Congress. In Manipur, Congress retained power.
Most pollsters had predicted hung assembly in UP. CNN-IBN had predicted SP will get 34% of votes, BSP will get 24%. Headlines Today had predicted 203 seats for SP. SP got 29% votes and 225 seats. BSP got 26% votes and 79 seats. BJP got 47 seats. Congress-RLD got 37 seats. Peace Party got 4 seats, Apna Dal 1, Qaumi Ekta Dal 2 and Ittehad-e-Millat Council 1. CPI, CPI(M), JD(U), TMC and some other parties did not win any seat.
Article 324 of the constitution of India vests superintendence, direction and control of elections in Election Commission. The constitution does not give to Election Commission power to set up institutes.
Election Commission wants to set up India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIDEM) as an advance resource centre of research and training in election management. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) would be the ex-officio chairperson of IIDEM. Election Commission wants to tell the whole world about its success.
Jaipur Literature Festival 2012 made news for controversy surrounding Salman Rushdie. The festival started on 20/1/2012 and ended on 24/1/2012. Over the years Salman Rushdie had come and gone. He had attended one Jaipur Literature Festival. He had attended one seminar in Delhi. The events had passed off peacefully.
This time TV channels gave wide publicity to statements of some Muslim leaders, some clerics and some politicians. The statements began in UP where elections are going on and spread to other parts. No party wanted to offend Muslims and lose their votes. If the TV channels had ignored the statements there would have been no controversy. Once those leaders demanded Salman Rushdie should not be given a visa and it was widely telecast the controversy began. Salman Rushdie tweeted he did not need a visa to come to India. Being a Person of Indian Origin he had Indian Overseas Citizen card and could come to India anytime. If he had kept quiet the Muslim leaders would have thought he would not get a visa and stopped the protests. The Muslim leaders continued the protests and demanded he should be stopped from attending the festival. The organizers said the invitation stands. Ashok Gehlot, Rajasthanâ€™s chief minister went to Delhi. Law Minister Salman Khurshid told him Salman Rushdie cannot be stopped from coming to India. Ashok Gehlot met P. Chidambaram and returned to Rajasthan.
Congress and TMC are partners in UPA at centre and have coalition government in West Bengal. The relationship between the two has worsened in recent days. There is talk of Congress aligning with SP after UP elections.
There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics. Congress needs TMC at centre. TMC does not need Congress in West Bengal. Both call each other CPI-Mâ€™s B team and compare to watermelon, green outside, red inside.
Mamata Banerjee, leader of TMC, opposed Congress on Teesta River Water Treaty, petrol price hike, FDI in retail. TMC voted for Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha and opposed it in Rajya Sabha and moved amendments. Dinesh Trivedi said he had opposed Lokpal Bill in cabinet. He was overruled.
On 24/12/2011 Election Commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Qureshi and Election Commissioners H. S. Brahma and V. S. Sampath announced election dates for Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Goa. In Uttar Pradesh polling is in seven phases in February 2012. In other states it is one day polling. Polling in Manipur is on 28/1/2012, in Punjab and Uttarakhand on 30/1/2012 and in Goa on 3/3/2012. Counting of votes is on 4/3/2012.
Petrol price has gone up once again. There is no good reason for the hike. It is a myth that oil marketing companies decide the hike. When there were elections in four states and one union territory petrol price did not go up. The hike happened after voting was over. That time LPG price also went up.
Election results for Legislative Assemblies in four states and one union territory are out. In Assam it is third time successively for Congress and allies. In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee led TMC-Congress defeated Left Front which was in power for 34 years. In Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, Jayalalitha led AIADMK and partners to victory over DMK-Congress coalition. In Kerala, UDF won, LDF lost.
CPI-M and CPI lost power in West Bengal and Kerala. They are in coalition with ADMK but did not contest many seats. Congress was in the winning combinations in Assam, West Bengal and Kerala. In Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments have changed every five years for the past few times. BJP lost seats in Assam and did not win seats in other states. Congress is happy that BJP did not do well.