Silent voters keep pundits guessing on Lok Sabha election trends

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Lok Sabha election campaigns wear dull & dreary mood

By Manish Anand

New Delhi, April 16: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekhar looked empty eyes as his van strode through streets of Thiruvananthapuram. Incumbent Lok Sabha MP from the constituency, Shashi Tharoor, too wore tiredness in his eyes with mundane touch.

In another three days, electorates in 21 states will cast their votes in 102 Lok Sabha constituencies in the first phase of the polling. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slogging the electioneering of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi is also going all guns blazing. The regional outfits have come out with zeal to seize opportunities to show their strengths.

But political pundits have begun noting that the usual noise in the election is now missing. The skylines and the walls are also wearing deserted looks. The poll appears dull and dreary.

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“I went all the way to Agra from Delhi through inner lanes of small towns on the way last week. It was startling that there appeared no signs of elections. This was revealing,” said a senior journalist.

Incidentally, Mathura Lok Sabha seat is a VIP seat. Cinestar Hema Malini, 79, is in the fray. Yet, the constituency failed to give an impression of an election taking place shortly. Mathura goes to the poll on April 26.

Kerala is reeling under peak summer. The people are staying indoors. The candidates are sending out advance schedules to the people. But the candidates find that the crowds are missing.

Indeed, the public meetings may give contrarian impressions that the people are celebrating the elections with all pomp and show. But the public meetings are well known to be an artificial congregation of the supporters. It takes a toll on political parties to bring crowds of 20,000 and more.

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“It’s now a thriving business to arrange the people for the public meeting. You need to tell the number of the people you desire and the cost will be conveyed. This business is doing well in Bihar,” said a close aide of a Lok Sabha candidate in Bihar.

But the political pundits are drawing parallel with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The small towns and the villages were celebrating the surgical strikes carried out by India against Pakistan. The people gave vent to their vicarious satisfaction. Mention of issues such as unemployment was mostly avoided.

The Congress and the BJP have come out with their respective manifestoes. These documents faded from popular memories shortly. Film stars are also hardly campaigning. Electioneering is animated and heated in television studios. The people seem reflective, conveying that only the ballots will speak for them.

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