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The First General Election

Inder Malhotra looks back on the first general election in the Indian Express:

Nehru got greatly depressed. What “filled him with dismay” was the selection of Congress candidates that he described as “disgusting”. What got his goat were the “cliques”, “bossism”, the “scramble” and “lack of organisation”... To Edwina Mountbatten he wrote: “More and more I hate this election business, more especially the choosing of candidates... ”  ... that the Congress could hardly talk of principles when so many of its members were “snarling” for selection and “third-rate individuals were being chosen on grounds of caste and sub-caste. I have felt recently as if I was in a den of wild animals”. 

...Looking back at newspaper headlines of January 1952, I am startled to discover that some of them are still with us, albeit with greater frequency and intensity. A few samples in point are “Congress Banks on Muslim Support”; “Caste Rivalries Weaken Bihar Congress”; “List of Nominees Causes Wider Split”. “Autonomy Demand in Manipur”. “Ministers Face Stiff Opposition” and so on. Sadly, one headline, ubiquitous then, we are unlikely to see all too often is “Polling Was Peaceful”. +

Read the full piece: The First Vote Cast

Inder Malhotra looks back on the first general election in the Indian Express:

Nehru got greatly depressed. What “filled him with dismay” was the selection of Congress candidates that he described as “disgusting”. What got his goat were the “cliques”, “bossism”, the “scramble” and “lack of organisation”... To Edwina Mountbatten he wrote: “More and more I hate this election business, more especially the choosing of candidates... ”  ... that the Congress could hardly talk of principles when so many of its members were “snarling” for selection and “third-rate individuals were being chosen on grounds of caste and sub-caste. I have felt recently as if I was in a den of wild animals”. 

...Looking back at newspaper headlines of January 1952, I am startled to discover that some of them are still with us, albeit with greater frequency and intensity. A few samples in point are “Congress Banks on Muslim Support”; “Caste Rivalries Weaken Bihar Congress”; “List of Nominees Causes Wider Split”. “Autonomy Demand in Manipur”. “Ministers Face Stiff Opposition” and so on. Sadly, one headline, ubiquitous then, we are unlikely to see all too often is “Polling Was Peaceful”. +

Read the full piece: The First Vote Cast

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