EC to purchase new EVMs for 2019 Lok Sabha elections

The Election Commission of India has been granted  Rs 1009 crore to purchase new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This step has been taken to update the old machines before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The purchase will take place through Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad.

According to the  Saturday’s approval,the election body has been assigned to buy 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19. It will be a conjectural unit cost of Rs 7,700,and Rs 9,300 respectively. The approximate cost  will be will be Rs 1,009.6 crore.

On Wednesday, The Union Cabinet has also  given the poll body the authority to choose and to decide the amount to be ordered on BEL and ECIL as well. The decision should be based on their production capacity,and past performance in supply of machines. This will help Commission to manage everything. The Law Ministry stated to The Indian Express, “This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. It will enable the Commission to replenish the stock with a view to meet the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the state assemblies due in 2019”.

On July 20, the Union Cabinet had approved a similar proposal out by Election Commission to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs, the first tranche at a cost of Rs 9,200 crore during 2016-17 as well.

SOURCES: The Indian Express, TOI

IMAGE SOURCES: Representation Picture

‘Bahu Dilao, Vote Pao’

 

Photo Courtesy – www.canindia.com

It is common to hear about many materialistic things that are asked in exchange of votes all over the country. This one has to top the list though. In Haryana, the state with lowest sex ratio in the country, has set up informal ‘randa unions’. Their slogan is ‘bahu dilao, vote pao’.

Sex ratio in Harayana, currently, is 877 women per 1000 men. Gender imbalance which is mainly due to female foeticide  has become a major issue in the state. Keeping this in mind, the members of this union and elders have decided to raise the issue when the politicians come for poll meetings. The term, ‘Bahu dilao, vote pao’ is  coined by a union called Kunwara union which was formed in 2009. Pawan Kumar, union’s chairman said, “The government must not only attack female foeticide but also find jobs for young men in Haryana. Unemployment is also a factor for us not getting brides.” This is not the first time that the union is protesting. Earlier also they had held protests to demand for more brides.

A number of NGOs are involved in various regions of Harayana to protest against the lack in number of brides. According to Red Cross Society of Yamunanagar, Harayana has 150-200 unmarried youth in the age group of 25-29 years in each of its 7000 odd villages.

 

BJP and TMC lash out at 11 party “Third Front Alliance”

On a day when 11 parties formed a non-Congress and non-BJP alliance as the nation faces elections coming this April, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a rally in Gandhinagar today commented that the election would be of more than just numbers; it would be about the chemistry within the government.

Earlier in the day, leaders of 4 left parties along with that of the Samajwadi party, JD(U), AIADMK, JD(S) and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha decided on the alliance after a meeting. Reports also stated that party stalwarts from the BJD and AGM abstained from the meet showcasing prior commitments. While the third front cannot be completely brushed away owing to their great potential in the regional sectors of the country, the BJP and the Trinamool Congress has both lashed out at it.

Picture Courtesy – The Hindu

“Third Front is a “Communist day-dream. It is a hobby horse of the Communists, who want to use the power of regional parties to manipulate their way to influence without responsibilities and to promote obsolete agendas,” said TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien. For the BJP, it was Prakash Javadekar who stated that, “This is not a Third Front but a ‘bikhra (scattered) morcha’. Be it third front or AAP’s fourth front, their idea is to help Congress. Voting for them means voting for Congress.”

However, optimistic of the Front, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat went on to say that at this hour, the main goal for the parties were to stop Narendra Modi from coming to power but at the same time Congress cannot be an option given the widespread corruption, scams and the way the country has fared in the past 5 years. “We need alternative to BJP and Congress. Leaders of 11 parties resolved today to work together to present an alternative before the country,” he said.

AIADMK releases list of 40 candidates for LS polls

Picture Courtesy – Deccan Chronicle
AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa yesterday released a list of 40 names who would be contesting from her party in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Though talks with the Left are still off the paper, but it is reported that the two might join hands; a step that is seen to demoralize the DMK who are already marred with scams and controversies and yet to find an ally.

M Thambi Durai, P Kumar and P Venugopal are the only 3 members who were retained out of the 9 members who won the last general elections. On Monday at the party head-quarters, the chief minister remarked that the campaign would be on a “peace-prosperity-progress” platform. “I will focus only on the 40 seats and will work hard from win from all,” she said.

Speculations suggest that at least 4 seats out of these will have to be left out in case the alliance makes its way through with the two left parties.

The Return of Ram

Modi's promotion as the BJP's spearhead did manage to make quite a few heads turn.
Modi’s promotion as the BJP’s spearhead did manage to make quite a few heads turn.

When BJP announced Narendra Modi as the campaign chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, many wondered if such a move marked its return to the old Hindutva agenda. Their questions were answered when Amit Shah, BJP’s UP in-charge who is currently in Ayodhya for a poll strategy meeting, visited the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi site and declared the party’s commitment to building a Ram temple there.

“People in the country desire a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya. We are committed to it. I pray that we together build a grand temple here as soon as possible and restore Lord Ram to his rightful place.”

His statements have come amidst reports that BJP might field Modi from Varanasi, a move that is seen by political observers as a strategy to regain lost ground in the Hindi heartland. Taken in the proper context, Amit Shah’s statements can be seen as a framework of the party’s strategy for the 2014 elections. While Modi himself has refrained from making any comments on the Ram temple issue, others in the BJP have been much more forthcoming. Amit Shah’s statement was backed by party president Rajnath Singh, who said:

Image Courtesy: Sify News

BJP’ seems to have decided upon a two-pronged poll strategy. While one group, led by Modi, is focussing on his credentials as a ‘development man’ and are talking about replicating the Gujarat development model at the centre, the other group, led by Modi’s trusted aide, Amit Shah, has taken upon itself to keep the Ram Janmabhoomi movement alive. The BJP, in essence, wants to have the cake and eat it too.

The saffron party’s renewed call to build a Ram temple would definitely please the sangh parivar which, of late, has been accusing the party of deserting its core issues. At the same time, Modi’s emphasis on development coupled with  shortcomings of a corruption riddled UPA government would be targeted towards those who accuse him of being communal.

The 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh will be of great importance in the 2014 elections. A win in UP would be, in all probability, reflected at the national level. This makes Modi’s candidature from Varanasi of even greater significance. The BJP has taken a calculated risk by raising the Ram temple issue once more. What the party patriarchs must be hoping for is that the highly emotive subject, combined with Modi’s charisma, would get them a majority in the 2014 polls. If not; well, it must be because Lord Ram doesn’t want them to.