Letters to the EDITOR: Insights into India’s Lok Sabha elections

India's Lok Sabha elections are a vibrant testament to the essence of democracy.
Letters to the EDITOR: Insights into India’s Lok Sabha elections

Insights into India’s Lok Sabha elections

India's Lok Sabha elections are a vibrant testament to the essence of democracy. Held in the country every five years, these elections witness the world's largest democratic exercise, with over 900 million eligible voters casting their votes. The LokSabha, the lower house of India's Parliament, comprises 545 members, including two nominated members, representing the diverse populace of the country's 28 states and 8 Union territories.

These elections serve as a barometer of the nation's political atmosphere, reflecting its societal, economic, and cultural dynamics. Political parties engage in rigorous campaigning, addressing critical issues ranging from economic development and social welfare to national security and environmental sustainability. The electorate, armed with the power to shape the nation's destiny, evaluates candidates based on their promises, track records, and vision for the future.

As the results unfold, the LokSabha elections unveil the collective will of the people, determining the composition of the government and shaping the course of governance for the next five years. Beyond the political implications, these elections underscore the resilience of India's democratic framework and the commitment of its citizens to participate in the democratic process, ensuring that their voices are heard and their aspirations are represented on the national stage.

Darshana Nath

Gauhati University

Revisiting the

ban on exit polls

I wish to address my concerns regarding the recent prohibition on exit polls issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) from April 19 to June 1, 2024. While I recognize the importance of preserving the integrity of the electoral process, I am apprehensive about the potential impact of this decision on democratic values and the dissemination of information to voters. The prohibition on exit polls, as outlined in Section 126(1)(B) of the People's Representative Act, 1951, restricts the dissemination of valuable information to the electorate during a crucial period leading up to elections. This restriction not only curtails the freedom of the press but also deprives voters of access to diverse perspectives and analyses that could inform their decision-making process. While I acknowledge the need to prevent the undue influence of exit polls on voter behaviour, I question whether a blanket ban is the most effective solution. Instead, I urge the ECI to consider alternative measures that strike a balance between safeguarding the electoral process and upholding democratic principles. Rather than imposing restrictions, the ECI should focus on enhancing transparency and accountability within the electoral system. This could include measures such as greater oversight of polling methodologies, improved voter education initiatives, and increased scrutiny of political campaigns. In conclusion, I appeal to the Election Commission of India to review its decision and engage in a constructive dialogue with stakeholders to develop more nuanced approaches to regulating exit polls in future elections.

Ankita Dutta

Centre for Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication,

Dibrugarh University

Plight of Bharalu River

Your editorial 'Stakeholders in Bharalu restoration project' (April 17) has rightly highlighted the shocking insensitivity of the citizens and government alike towards the wellbeing of the natural environment of the dying Bharalu River flowing through the heart of the city. Needless to say, the Bharalu, which once added to the city's aesthetics, has been reduced to a filthy drain today because of the non-commissioning of a comprehensive sewage project for the entire city. Several other wetlands in the city have undergone the same ugly transformation that the Bharalu has suffered today. The root of the rot lies in the decade-old trend of unplanned urbanization in the city. It is good to see some civil society groups evincing keen interest in having the river rejuvenated. It would be a remarkable job of eco-restoration, provided they could work in tandem with the government. The widening and cleaning of the Bharalu have to be made to that effect immediately. Unless the sources of pollution are checked, reviving the dying Bharalu is impossible. Matters also stand worsened by large-scale encroachment on its banks. Surprisingly, the district administration and the government have been content to look the other way for years. One must keep in mind that rivers and water bodies are indicators of not just the natural environment; they also mirror the mental make-up of a society. It is time responsive authorities, along with Guwahati residents, woke up from their slumber to transform the river into an ideal recreational and tourist zone instead of letting it languish as a filthy drain. The popular saying 'where there is a will, there is a way' must motivate all the genuine stakeholders in the restoration of the Bharalu River.

Iqbal Saikia,


Tracks of music

It is said that music washes away the dust from the soul. It is music that can soothe our tensed mind and heart. Everyone is pleased to listen to music. Music literally changes the brain. Neurological researchers have found that listening to music triggers the release of several neurochemicals that play a role in brain function and mental health. Music in any form is accessible at any time nowadays. But a few decades ago, one had to wait for his favourite music or song to be played on the radio or on some musical instruments. Many a time, the listeners missed the song as the songs once played could not be repeated easily. The broadcasters had time limitations and strict regulations, for which they aired a limited number of musical programmes for the listeners. The listeners were quite dependent on the radio and later on TV programmes for their favourite music or songs. They used to wait for their favourite programmes to come on the radio or TV. Very few could afford to buy record players or tape recorders to listen to what they wanted to. Those who wanted to sing had to do a lot. They had to make all the arrangements, including musical instruments and playing hands. It was a tiresome job that couldn't be arranged instantly. But of late, those difficult days are over with the advent of digital gadgets. One can easily access any music or song at any time, as per his choice. Free Music Archive, SoundCloud, ccMixter, YouTube, Facebook, Starmaker, etc. are some such apps or websites. Singing on a personal level, too, has become much easier than before because of ready-made tracks of music. The tracks have proved to be of great help to the learners and even elderly people who are fond of singing. Without the help of hands, one can now perform a beautiful song to satisfy himself and others. The tracks available on the apps or web are of great help for lovers and learners of singing.

Kulendra Nath Deka,

Dighirpar, Mangaldai

Pothole phenomenon

According to governmental statistics, there were nearly 1900 road accident deaths due to potholes in 2022. Poor engineering and a lack of funds have led to the "pothole phenomenon" on Indian roads. The government has repeatedly claimed that it has released more funds for roads. So, another "universal" phenomenon in India, namely "corruption," has damaged roads beyond recognition. Heavy traffic and rains lead to the surface underneath the roads expanding and cracking, leading to potholes. Insufficient drainage systems have aggravated the condition. If the best materials are used for road building, the chances of pothole formation are less.

When potholes surface, patching is undertaken by the government. However, they do not stick around long, and the original potholes resurface. One has to depend on the latest technological methods to prevent the re-emergence of potholes. When the potholes first appear, immediate steps to repair them are important; otherwise, they can give way again and soon. During the fresh construction of roads, asphalt is laid out over underlying multiple rocks called aggregators. In a hurry to meet the deadline, engineers tend to use inadequate aggregators. The government has stressed "education and engineering, enforcement, and emergency" as steps to prevent and repair potholes. It seems to be big on words but small on execution.

Dr GanapathiBhat


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