The First Phase of the Lok Sabha Polls Got Underway!

Lok Sabha Polls
  • The much-awaited Dance of Democracy kick-started with the first phase of the parliamentary polls getting underway on 19th April 2024. Months of campaigning under grueling summer heat came to a culmination with the conclusion of the first phase of polling which was peaceful. As you are aware, the Election Commission of India IECI) announced a seven-phase Lok Sabha polls across the country paving the way for the political parties to present their case in front of the hundreds of millions of electorate. Mind you, the Lok Sabha polls largely pertain to the national issues where the local issues usually take a back seat. As such, it can be safely hoped that the electorate will exercise their franchise based on this aspect. National versus local narrative, you see.

parliamentary polls

PC: Jagran English

  • Of course, the main national parties are expectant that the electorate will bless them. The BJP-led NDA is quite confident about returning to power for the successive third time. In the first phase election, Tamil Nadu is of special interest. Also, this happens to be the first vote in J&K post-Art 370. The first phase to elect the 18th Lok Sabha will decide the outcome of more seats than the six phases to follow. 102 seats in 21 states are at stake. Each LS poll is unique with surprises guaranteed when votes are counted. A special feature of the first phase is the subplots within the largest electoral exercise in the world. TN, with 39 LS seats, is the biggest prize in today’s polling, But there’s more at stake here than in 2024.
  • The state’s been a political outlier, pushing national parties to the margin. DMK has retained its successful 2019 alliance. Arguably, the most consequential outcome will be the vote shares of the erstwhile allies, AIADMK and BJP. It’s this measure that will indicate if the five-decade phase of TN politics revolving around two Dravidian parties is coming to an end. Note that Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are two of the four states where LS and assembly polls are being held simultaneously. Arunachal continues with a tradition of sending some candidates to the state assembly unopposed. BJP has already secured 10 of 60 seats this way. Encouragingly, J&K will witness its first big election after the nullification of Article 370. This is most welcoming.

electoral democracy

PC: The Indian Express

  • The resumption of electoral democracy in J&K is a positive takeaway. Over the next six weeks, the world’s largest democracy with over 968 million voters will exercise its franchise. Almost 2% of this electorate is in the age group of 18-19. Democracy has been the glue holding together our diverse country by giving everyone a sense of ownership. It’s the most precious legacy of India’s political independence. The country witnesses the electorate’s cynical misgivings and lack of enthusiasm to come out in large numbers to vote on the polling day. This is despite the ECI making concerted efforts to influence the voters to actively participate in the world’s largest electoral process. The subsequent phases will reveal to what extent the ECI has succeeded in this endeavor.