Ensuring free and fair polls in Punjab

As Punjab goes to the polls today, there is need to take stock of the tone and tenor of the campaigning in the past few weeks. Mudslinging and mutual recrimination are prohibited in the code of conduct prescribed by the Election Commission. The posters and pamphlets issued by political parties are full of wild accusations instead of promising welfare schemes, policies and programmes for the state.

Some political parties and candidates deployed huge funds on campaigning, hired public relation agencies for drafting press reports etc., organised campaign material with CDs, flags, stickers, caps etc. In addition to money power, there was the influence of liquor too.

The Election Commission must impose heavy penalties on those resorting to such malpractices; it should disqualify the habitual offenders. Sweeping electoral reforms to ensure free and fair polls are the need of the hour.

B. KAPOOR, Jalandhar City



There is no constitutional provision that makes it mandatory for the ruling party to implement its election manifesto during its tenure. Though Part IV of the Constitution enshrines the Directive Principles of State Policy, these are not enforceable in the court of law.

If the government ignores them, it has to face the music before the electorate in the next elections. But such principles carry little value when a person is worried about his two square meals a day, is unaware of his rights and duties and when elections are a way to earn a few bucks.

Sadly, politicians are tempering with the Constitution to make (or protect) their vote banks. Such is the hard reality of our democracy that the politicians are deceiving people in the absence of any explicit provision to keep their promises. To make them accountable to the people, a stringent law should be enacted. But will the lawmakers enact such a law?



The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal have been making tall claims, leaving the average voter confused. Who is speaking the truth? And who is the villain? I wonder why we cannot reject people who don’t measure up to our expectations? Why we have to suffer candidates who don’t visit our constituencies for years together?

How can voters make political parties implement their promises? The media and the intelligentsia have a great role to play. They must not simply report what is happening and what is being said but also bring out the truth so that people could decide what is fair and what is foul.

No party has put in its election manifesto its commitment to values and ethics.  Everything else is there. And who is bothered about it?

Dr J.S. ANAND, Bathinda


Today every political party’s only manifesto is to expose the rival party or leaders’ immoral and corrupt practices and fight over trivial local or state issues. A cheap vote-gathering gimmick is to please the majority or the swing vote by providing, say, job reservation, legalising slums or buying voter cards. No politician talks about real issues confronting us.

Population explosion, illiteracy, health promotion, conserving agriculture, land, water, electricity and petrol, pollution, global warming, raising education standards and making borders safe should have been highlighted well in the manifestoes.

Let us think beyond self — about our neighborhoods, towns, cities and states. Let us pledge to clean our neighborhoods, plant trees, conserve water, electricity, petrol, follow the two-child norm and imparting them the best education and moral values.

MANDEEP NAGRA, Santa Rosa (California)

Helping women in distress

The news-item “Help for women deserted abroad” in The Tribune was interesting. But there is nothing to cheer about. This, like all others, may remain a promise. Has the Anti-dowry Act helped eliminate dowry? Aren’t young married women still being harassed, tortured and burnt alive by greedy husbands and in-laws? Are our police and the judiciary swift enough to investigate and punish the guilty? The government’s initiative is well-intentioned, but it does not have the suitable workforce to deliver the goods. What can it do if the staff have no conscience and no compassion for others?

When Joe Karnan, former Indiana Governor, was Mayor of South Band, Indiana, a woman wanted him to help her travel to Germany, with a passport, to see his injured son. It was done the same day. This is the kind of workforce I am talking about.




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