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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dismal Voting in Mumbai

Today, in the third phase of General Elections 2009 and the last phase in Maharashtra, Mumbai recorded only about 45 per cent of voting. Only seen in large numbers were the celebrities, politicians and the Bollywood stars. And why not, they will only be grateful for the bonus doses of publicity.

There was total apathy from the common man. Maybe because of the fact that their problems remain always. Or maybe because of the soaring mercury. Or maybe because of the casualness of the Mumbaikars who like to plan weekends with this extra holiday on account of election.

But the terror trauma of 26/11 may be the real dampener too.

Most urban places of Maharashtra had poor turnouts and moderate polling in the rest. Many other states of India too recorded pathetic turnouts. This may really be ominous in terms of the possibility of a hung parliament.

Indian democracy at the crossroads?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Over to Super Over Cricket!

Cricket lovers get into frenzy as more and more fours and sixes are hit. Cricket traders aim at delivering the maximum packages of fours and sixes to maximize their revenues.

Thanks to IPL-2 the super over rule is full of exciting possibilities.

Just think of the scenario. Every team is given one over to set a target for the opposite team. This can be called a super over. The team, always stocked with 11 players whatever the overs given, will go all out to hit maximum number of fours and sixes in those six balls barring no balls and wide balls. With six balls the target can be as high as 36. The opposite team will again go desperate to attain that target.

Benefits are astounding. A whole championship can be played in just one day saving precious time and optimizing money spent or earned. Super ads can be fitted in between every ball—at least five slots for each innings of one super over. Even test matches are possible in this format. Four innings of one super over each. An ideal day out with high voltage entertainment. Rains can no longer be a spoilsport because as per the D/L method one ball each can decide the match. There will definitely be time for playing one ball, no?

Cricket lovers are happy, cricket traders are happy. What more you want!

Election Heat!

Second phase of India’s General Election is over. Voting is still around only 55 per cent with some places in urban Maharashtra recording a pathetic 40 per cent and thereabouts.

General Election 2009, devoid of issues and waves, is not able to generate the heat and the momentum so far. The only heat palpable is generated by nature reflected in rising mercury in the range of 40 degree Celsius plus in most places. Experts are saying that this unbearable heat is acting as a clear dampener for prospective voters.

If Indian democracy can be stopped by mere heat God help us!

Friday, April 10, 2009

To Vote Or Not To Vote

Why should we vote? It is because of two vital reasons. Firstly because it is our fundamental democratic right for which people struggled and suffered all over the world throughout history. Secondly because we must elect our representatives to form a government to give us good rule.

When we vote we naturally express our expectations. We expect better times, solutions to our everyday problems, provision of minimum amenities for quality living and a good security environment.

Politicians play on our expectations and make all sorts of promises to muster our precious votes. Most often these promises are forgotten or belied or abused. Some people stoically accept this as the most natural way of democratic life and do not bother about voting or not voting. Others get disillusioned and threaten to refrain from exercising their democratic right.

The 26/11 Mumbai terror attack disillusioned many. They were horrified at the hollowness of the security system. They poured into the streets demanding protection as their basic right and took the government and the politicians to task. The rest was history.

This sense of disillusionment is being increasingly seen if different parts of Maharashtra. People are being fed up continuously confronting the same nagging problems like lack of drinking water, lack of medical facilities and schools, lack of employment opportunities, problem of load shedding, vicious clutch of poverty and many others. False promises make their disillusionment turn into despair urging them on to take hard decisions. Different rural pockets of Chandrapur and Sangli and 27 villages of Jalgaon voiced their protests by deciding to boycott the general elections. The leper colony of Solapur too decided against voting owing to their continued misery. It is heart wrenching to see poor villagers articulating their helplessness. The bug is spreading fast and wide.

The scenario is disturbing. Experts and politicians should take note of this and think of ways to motivate the citizens instead of opinionating and politicizing the issue. Opinions do differ as ever. Some talk of there being ‘selfish motives’ behind voting and ‘petty politics’ behind not voting. Still others point out the ‘elitist bias’ behind the post 26/11 Mumbai uprising. But one cannot ever dissociate ‘people’ from a democracy and people’s genuine feelings must be attended to, and that too in good time.

India takes pride in being the largest democracy of the world. But pride must always be supported by commitment. Our democratic traditions must be preserved.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Traces of Arrogance?

After India failed to win the third test against New Zealand at Wellington Dhoni said strange things in defending himself or his decisions. He said that extra 70-80 runs gave bowlers more scope to attack. This is contrary to common logic. The less the target the more confidence you show on your bowlers. Setting a humanly impossible target of over 600 runs makes the proceedings a mere ritual. The time you lose in that adds to the opposition’s resolve to save the match.

Dhoni again said that he expected to get the New Zealand batsmen out in 110-120 overs and so he did not bother much about the weather factor. How on earth could one expect the opposition to cave in as per his wish? You just cannot afford to be overconfident or complacent in a game of cricket.

And, these utterances from a captain who is replete with abundant positive vibes and undoubtedly the most successful one to lead Team India. Success leads to hype and hype leads to arrogance. And, this leads to a painful decline.

Arrogance is the last thing that cricket fans would want Dhoni to cultivate. His positive energy is doing wonders to a team that was used to play mostly safe and try to save or lose matches rather than trying to win. I have said earlier in one of my articles that MS Dhoni is something to be handled with care. His positive body language and attacking cricket should go on undeterred to take India to the top.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Yes, Let Democracy Win!

I agree with Shraddha's( strong views on the political circus that is unstoppable as ever. This is despite the public outrage against politicians post 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. When would they understand the reality and be accountable? We have also seen people getting fed up with the false promises of politicians and planning to boycott voting in different parts of Maharashtra. This could well be a trendsetter, lets hope.

Democracy must win at all costs.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wannabe PM?

The art of forming political coalitions seems to have acquired a new mantra. ‘Wannabe PM?’ syndrome is gaining ground all over the country. Prominent aspiring political leaders are being lured into this syndrome and on the basis of their anticipated affirmations new coalitions or fronts are manufactured.

During the Nuclear Deal turmoil a lot of unlikely groups made unlikely coalitions with the promise of making someone PM. Now with general elections round the corner the process of making ‘strange bedfellows’ is naturally getting accelerated. Some leaders cannot help but keep a lifelong ambition of becoming the PM. Some of them succeed, no matter even if it means for a few days only, and others remain eternally hopeful. If we call it a baser instinct then it is ‘pandering to baser instincts’. What is wrong if ‘pandering’ leads to an endless stream of fronts?

In Maharashtra too the ‘Marathi Manoos’ (son of soil) sentiment is playing its part in the overall unfolding of the syndrome. If a son of soil of a particular region wants to be the PM political parties of that region tend to forget political affiliations and ideologies. Thus we get ‘regional integration’. Now, if someone like that finally becomes the PM how s/he is going to reconcile to the eternal theme of ‘national integration’ is a question better left alone.

For the moment we can enjoy the great entertainment show of ‘wannabe PM’ and wait for the suspense drama to end after the elections. Or, do we have a say on who should be or would be or could be the eventual PM?
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