EDITORIAL

Who will be the candidates?

Election Commission of India

 

It is nearly one week now that the Election Commission of India issued notification for the Lok Sabha election. Yet none of the major political parties has been able to finalize their respective list of candidates. The BJP state committee has reportedly sent its list of probable candidates to the party’s national head office in New Delhi. The Congress, on the other hand, is still in the process of finalizing even its shortlist, while media reports say the party has been calling up some eminent persons of the state to inquire if they were interested in contesting on Congress tickets. The Asom Gana Parishad does not have much of a problem because it will have to find only three candidates for the equal number of Lok Sabha constituencies that its senior partner BJP has left for it after obviously taking the better ones. The AIUDF too should not any problem because contesting the Lok Sabha election in the two constituencies – Dhubri and Barpeta – is kind of a family matter for it since no other person in the party can raise voice against what president Maulana Badrudding Ajmal and his brother Sirajuddin Ajmal decide. The Left parties – CPI(M), CPI and CPI(ML) generally do not contest in too many seats as these parties do not have much of a support base in Assam. All the parties, and more particularly the BJP has realised that there is no point renominating all the sitting MPs. The people of the state have seen that several of the sitting MPs from Assam have not made any significant contribution to their respective constituencies – forget about the state as a whole – in the last five years. Some of them did not even ask any significant question about issues related to their constituencies and about Assam during their five-year term. The people of Assam cannot recall any of the 14 Lok Sabha members from the state delivering any impressive speech or taking part in a major debate during their tenure. Likewise, most of them could not prove to be eligible for inclusion in the Union cabinet. The lone MP from the state who was made a minister of state during the second half of the Modi government failed to make any significant contribution. As minister of state for railways, he could have made quite a number of contributions that would have benefitted Assam and the Northeast. All the highly significant developments on the railway front that the region had witnessed in the past five years were either projects initiated by the previous government, or were completed at the behest of the prime minister and the Union minister. Likewise, even none of those in the Opposition – seven of them – had made any contribution worth its name for which they will be remembered as MPs from Assam. This is indeed sad, especially after the voters had so enthusiastically elected them and pinned high hopes on them.What the people of the state however need to know is a detailed report card of each of the outgoing MPs – especially those who are craving for renomination – so that the voters can judge them and decide why they should cast their votes for them again. Similarly, the parties should also let the people know what their respective MPs did in the past five years for their state and their respective constituencies. And, as the lists of candidates are finalised, all the parties should provide the voters with every detail of their nominees. All the people cannot go searching for the affidavits of the candidates through the Election Commission website. What the parties can do is publish various details including whether their candidates can communicate well, whether they understand the basics economics of Assam, whether they have a proper understanding about the various burning issues of the state, whether they have any understanding about the Sustainable Development Goals and can related those goals to Assam and their respective constituencies, and so on.