ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Election Arithmetic

Election Arithmetic THE announcement this week that the general elections to the Lok Sabha would be held on November 22 and 24, about a month ahead of schedule, seems to have generated little enthusiasm or hope of meaningful political change. This is all the more remarkable because till the official announcement was forthcoming there was quite widely shared consternation that the leadership of the ruling party was not above looking for some pretext or the other to put off the elections. It is understandable in the circumstances that there should be speculation about the calculations behind the surprise announcement of the elections. It is possible that after the latest round of damaging revelations in the Bofors case, the prime minister deemed it prudent to rush through with the polls before further damning evidence came to light, as it is likely to sooner than later. There jiave also been reports that there were signs of restiveness among a section of Congress(I) leaders, especially those who still retain some independent support bases of their own, over the mounting proof, provided by the joint investigations of The Hindu's associate editor and Geneva correspondent and retired army chief General Sundarji's interview to India Today, of the prime minister's personal involvement in the elaborate cover-up to prevent the disclosure of the identity of the ultimate beneficiaries of the slush money payments made by Bofors, The ahnouncement of the elections could then be Rajiv Gandhi's way of pre-empting whatever action some of these Congressmen may have been contemplating. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that the decision to go in for an early poll, taken by the small coterie of the prime minister's personal advisers, came as a complete surprise to the union cabinet when it was informed of it on Tuesday morning.

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