Thursday, May 21, 2009

Indian Elections 2009: Tid-bits

A joke heard in Kerala during the elections:

Son: Father, what is the Indo-American Nuclear Pact?

Father: I don’t know much about it, son. But it must be a good thing because the Communists are opposing it.

The Communists were opposing the Congress in the elections as well. Is that why the electorate thought the Congress-led UPA is good for the country and voted overwhelmingly for the alliance?

Most people in Kerala had believed that the UPA would win. On March 8, I met Prof. Robins Jacob at Cochin. He is the head of the Economics Department at St. Albert’s College. When he repeated the same prediction, I asked him why. He, being a senior academic, would not make such statements lightly.

The main reason that Robins gave was the impact of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). It guarantees 100 days of paid employment in a year to rural households. I was only casually aware of it, but Robins is a well-studied man. According to him, the project had made a tremendous impact.

Over that weekend I happened to get firsthand information on NREGS at my village, Olavipe. Many families had benefited by the scheme. And it covered long overdue jobs like cleaning of canals.

The next four snippets are based on reports that appeared on The Times of India:

Youthful Parliament? That seems to be the general impression about the new (15th) Lok Sabha. It is, when compared to the previous one. But it is interesting to compare it with the first two Parliaments:

Age groups





1st LS:





2nd LS:





14th LS





15th LS





Ladies to the fore. The new Lok Sabha has record breaking presence of women members – 58. That is more than 10% of its total strength. Sounds good, does it not? But it is far below the proposed 33% reservation for women.

Rich man’s Parliament. If the crorepathi (multi-millionaire) Members of Parliament were to form the government, they would have more than sufficient majority – 300 out of 543. That is a 95% increase over the previous Lok Sabha. An example of India continuing to shine? Congress leads the BJP 137-58 in this aspect.

Parliamentarians of different hues. The new Lok Sabha has about 150 members who have pending criminal cases against them. This is approximately 22% more than the 14th Lok Sabha. And here, BJP (42) just pips the Congress (41).

Lawbreakers turned lawmakers?


Nebu said...

What I saw of NREG programme. A complete waste in Kerala. The fact is that even with high wages we have a shortage of manual agricultural labourers in Kerala.
Here The central Government introduces the NREG programme.

When in rest of India the daily wages in the programme is fixed at Rs. 60/- because of the ‘Special situation’ in Kerala it is fixed at Rs. 120/- .

The one work which was assigned in Kokkayar panchayat of Idukki district was putting mud on the sides of the road and some such frivolous stuff. The workers, who come by 11.00 am waste time by chatting and squatting till about 3.00 pm and leave for home.

The few regular farm workers who work for me @ Rs.120/- per day from 8.00 am till 5.00 pm (with one hour rest for lunch) see this and feel very bad. The government itself is setting a bad example for slothfulness.

This is not mentioning the amount skimmed off by inflating the number of workers. And doing NREG work in the property of panchayat members. Wasteful expenditure like NREG should not have been started by the Government.

The Keralites voted for UDF because of the attitude of the LDF leaders especially that of the CPI (M).

Unknown said...

One highlight of this election is the induction of young and educated personalities into our parliament, and the voters shunning regional politics in favor for a National Party.

The example set by the likes of Dr Shashi Tharoor, is probably going to encourage more educated and experienced people to join mainstream politics, and try to do good for our country, and at the same time lead India to a stronger, secure and prosperous 21'st century.
Leadership with global vision and expertise can do wonders for India.

Our country has to prioritize and balance its acts of self-development as well as becoming a strong, respected and responsible powerhouse on the Global stage in the near future, in the very best interests of us and the future generations . If only more educated , principled individuals can take on politics with a clear global vision to steer India to prosperity and strength.

Anonymous said...

This election was a vote for stability...

Even in Gujarat, congress got over a third of the seats.

NREG may have helped Cong in certain pockets but not at national level.


Unknown said...

Good points, Nebu. But basically NREGS is a case of good projects being implemented badly. This is the case with most such initiatives by the Government.
We have a fairly good chap as Panchayat Member and probably that was why something worthwhile was done in Olavipe.

Unknown said...

Kariyachan, you are right.

Unknown said...

Anonymous, thank you for the comment.

Unknown said...

In Kerala it was a negetive vote against CPIM which has deteriorated from being a communist party to simply Pinaray Vijayan private limited.
Even after the electoral defeat Pinaray Vijayan and his trusted loyal committee members think that defeat is due to poor CM who happens to be the only communist left in that party
At this rate,if Pinaray vijayan continues his arrogant manners and ways,CPIM will have only party secretary and his yes men called committee members in that party after some time

Unknown said...

Viruvelil Hormise Thomas, thank you for the comment. I think Pinarai Vijayan's reluctance to face trial in the Lavelin case also had a huge impact on the election results.

Unknown said...

Lavlin case has made it very clear that so called communist parties and other left parties have no more pretentions of idealism and anti corruption moves as they used to have.Just like any other political parties in India,they are now saying that if their men looted public money it cannot be probed and every one should blindly believe that they will not do any looting even if facts and evidence prove otherwise