The election jamboree is over but some refuse to let go of this tantalising story. For its latest issue, The
Economist co-sponsored a survey of the electorate by Delhi's Centre for the Study of
Developing Societies. Some findings:
29 per cent of voters have no access to any news media.
Half the respondents felt "we should be loyal to our own region first and then to India"
63 per cent feel their votes have an effect on the way the country is run.
Just 15 per cent said Kargil had affected their vote.
22 per cent attended an election meeting.
Half of those surveyed were visited by a party worker during the campaign.
Dalits with over 10 years' education go the BJP way.
Sonia's foreign origin offended 15 per cent of the respondents.
Gen Pervez Musharraf might feel queasy of imposing martial rule but pmk chief S. Ramdoss has no such qualms.
During the recent executive committee meeting of his party, Ramdoss prominently displayed
a whip and asked the second-rung leaders and cadres who did not do their bit for the
party's success to come forward and indulge in some self-flagellation. "A whip lash
is the right lesson for partymen defying the high command. If they do not beat themselves,
then the people in their constituencies will punish them," declared the southern
messiah of the obcs. What one could call a quirt of justice, perhaps.
If there's a prize for a script with an asinine last act, Congress president Sonia
Gandhi would surely walk away with it. It's for the manner in which she's dallied with
First, the hush-hush filing of nomination papers to ensure her maiden entry into
Parliament was a smooth affair. Then, the high-decibel battle in which she lost, in terms
of sound bites, to Bharatiya nari Sushma Swaraj. But when she finally emerged the victor
in the battle of ballots, she did not keep her promise; her word to the people of this
backward district was that she would work for development of the region. She has now
passed the task on to three Congress ministers elected from this district.
The reason for her J-turn, according to leaders who spent sleepless nights to make sure
that there would be no hiccups for Madam, was that she could not convince Priyanka or
Rahul to contest from the Gandhi citadel of Amethi. Unlike their public posturing, in
private, they let off steam against Sonia for dumping Bellary after all the song and dance
about the need for a safe constituency in the south. Their original reaction - that they
would have ensured a bigger vote margin if they knew about her plans to contest from
Bellary - has given way to ire that they were forced to spend several days over this
misadventure. These sentiments are shared by voters in Bellary; that they would have voted
for Sushma if only they knew that Sonia would junk their district.
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