India’s crucial parliamentary elections is scheduled to begin mid-April this year and will last for up to five weeks, until around the second week of May.
Reports, quoting Election Commission sources, on Monday said preparations have begun for the elections that are difficult to predict and expected to have far-reaching impact on world’s largest democracy.
The newcomer Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party buoyed by its dream debut in the recent Delhi Assembly elections has come under pressure from the intelligentsia and the public to contest the Lok Sabha (people’s House) polls in as many seats as possible.
The opposition nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is smelling the possibility of success following his party’s remarkable success in three state assembly elections recently.
For the ruling Congress party, the elections are a huge challenge as it fights widespread perception of its alleged involvement in corrupt deals during its tenure and inability to control price rise.
In an attempt to present a different face, the Congress recently announced that incumbent Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would make way for another leader if the party returned to power in the general elections.
According to indications, the new leader is likely to be Rahul Gandhi, the party vice-president and son of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
The biggest unknown in the elections, much to the chagrin of not only the Congress but also the BJP, is the emergence of the AAP.
Not only has the AAP eclipsed Modi as the biggest talking point of the elections, it has also enthused the middle class to an extent where top professionals across the country have quit their jobs and joined the party.
Among these are V Balakrishnan, former director of the top notch software company, Infosys, Captain Gopinath, founder of India’s first low-cost airline Air Deccan and top banker Meera Sanyal, chairperson of the Royal Bank of Scotland, India division.
BJP’s Modi has said that the 2014 elections "will destroy all past poll traditions" and that the election is more like a people’s movement this time.
Elections will necessarily have to be completed by the third week of May as the tenure of the current parliament ends on May 31 and the new elected government must be installed by latest June 1, 2014.
Source: Al Jazeera