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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 13 April 2021 1.24 AM IST

When preparations are on for Assembly election

polls

The date for the much-awaited assembly elections has been announced. Political parties are surprised that the announcement was made earlier than expected. In Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry, when polls gets over in a single day on April 6, Assam will need three phases. In Bengal, which has always been a hotbed of political tensions, it will take about a month to complete the polls. The election will be held in eight phases. No state has ever had such a long voting schedule. The last Bengal elections were held in seven phases. The Election Commission has fixed a long election schedule for Bengal only, taking into account the special circumstances there. State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has strongly criticized this. They allege that the BJP is plotting to seize power in Bengal.

The main problem is that states, including Kerala, which will go to the polls in the first week of April, will have to wait for days to see the results. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. Polling dates could have been adjusted to avoid this long wait. The argument that the polling schedule needs more gaps due to law and order issues is not a valid. If necessary, all security measures can be put in place to complete the polls in less than a day. There were times when even the general elections were completed in two or three days. At that time there were not many facilities as there are today.

For Kerala, April 6 is the most auspicious day for voting. It is only that all the parties will have to hurry up and get ready to go to the polls immediately as it is earlier than expected. All three fronts have already campaigned in an intense manner, so it is enough to approach the voters directly. The time for intensive campaigning will be barely two weeks after the completion of the nomination and subsequent procedures. It can be both a blessing and a curse for political parties. The lesser the campaign days, the lesser will be the expense. The limit set by the Election Commission for an assembly election is Rs 30.8 lakh per constituency. Nowadays, everyone knows that this amount is not enough for anything. Expenditure limits are controlled with the good intention that money should not rule elections, but it need not be a reality. As the system of election expenses is borne by the parties themselves, the expenditure limit should be adjusted according to the present circumstances. Despite the Election Commission appointing special observers to keep an eye on the situation, how much money is flowing into the constituency from each party? Once again, the Election Commission of Tamil Nadu is all set to deploy more observers to check the flow of money into the campaign. There is no doubt that money will flow like water no matter how many observers are deployed in Tamil Nadu, where even attempts have been made to screw new currency note into the ball to lure voters.
Voting is going to take place in places including Kerala where the Covid epidemic is still not under control. This is something that all parties should always keep in mind. Although the Election Commission has specifically said that Covid must strictly adhere to the norms when engaging in electioneering, it is common for restrictions to be blown to smithereens when excitement erupts. Campaigns that endanger the health of the people must be avoided. Propagandists also need to be very careful and vigilant. Political parties and activists have a special responsibility to ensure that the Assembly elections do not accelerate the spread of Covid. The overcrowding and carelessness seen in the political journeys that have just ended should not be repeated during the campaign.

Compared to other states, Kerala has always been free from electoral tensions and communal tensions. Peace and sovereignty in the country should not be disturbed in the midst of the efforts of the fronts to maintain power, seize power and expand their presence. It is the duty of the political leadership to ensure that there is no breach of peace even after the long wait for the result after the polls. The state is going to witness a more intense election campaign than usual. The possibility of campaigning turning to conflicts that naturally threatens social security cannot be ruled out. All sections of the people along with the political parties should take care to maintain the pride and prestige of the state in the electoral arena.

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