The 2014 election is supposed to be the longest democratic exercise in the world. But what is the use? Even after a nine-phase election, we will get the same set of people in various combinations. It does not make sense. The ability to garner votes becomes the sole criterion, for which every trick in the trade will be utilised. This does not necessarily translate into an ability to administer well. Frankly, I am disappointed with my country and see no hope for it in the days to come. Every system has failed, bogged down in corrupt practices and incompetence. Nothing is going to change here. Democracy has failed in our country and we should stop living in a fool’s paradise about our so-called glory. A country which is behind even tiny nations of the world in areas such as education, health and overall development, and where more than half its population do not seem to have proper toilets, has no right to be called a great country.

Pingali Gopal,

Warangal

“…[T]his election will see corruption and governance as major issues, along with livelihood and safety concerns.” (Editorial, March 6). At last, India will vote again. Ten years of UPA rule have virtually undermined the livelihoods of millions of farmers and the poor as the Congress gradually forgot the aam aadmi and moved toward safeguarding the interests of the corporate world. The Father of the Nation said India lives in its villages. In order to revitalise a sustainable village economy, the nation has to vote out both the corporate-servile Congress and the BJP. The elections mark an opportunity to do this.

C.V. Sukumaran,

Palakkad

A number of festivals such as Mahavir Jayanti, Tamil New Year’s Day, Ambedkar’s birthday, Chitra Pournami and Akshaya Thrithiya will be observed during the 73-day period of the general election process. There should be adequate safeguards to ensure that there is no distribution of money or gift articles by any political party on these days. Any violation must lead to instant disqualification.

A.J. Rangarajan,

Chennai

It is astounding that 81.4 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise through 9.13 lakh polling stations, and that 10 crore more voters have joined the ranks of voters since the election five years ago. The Election Commission deserves rich praise for being in charge of such a complex exercise. But I wonder how many of us are going to vote to make sure that there is 100 per cent voting.

Rajakumar Arulanandham,

Palayamkottai

More than the election, it is the Election Commission of India that has to be the focus of this whole exercise. It has discharged its constitutionally assigned role with great distinction, emerging as one of the few credible institutions and winning public trust hands down. In 2009, there were around 716 million voters. Now the figure is closer to 760 million, more than the population of the Americas and even Europe. In 2009, about 59 per cent of the 716 million eligible voters cast their ballots in some 8,34,000 polling booths, using 1.3 million electoral voting machines. This shows to what extent the Election Commission needs to do its homework.

Vivek Mathai George,

Mavelikara, Kerala

With the announcement of the dates for the general election, it is also time to change things. I believe the government should have a monitoring and evaluation panel comprising eminent citizens to assess the performance of the government. The citizen should be given a chance to rate the government based on its performance during its tenure. This election will be a chance to decide the way forward for India.

Karthik Jayaram Shastri,

Hubli

What happens after the election? There must be a body to monitor the conduct of our elected representatives. With disruptions and agitations the virtual norm in our Legislative Assemblies and Parliament, and with hardly any debate taking place, citizens must now have the right to extract an assurance of good behaviour from those they plan to vote for. Only then can this great democracy have smooth functioning.

S.S. Mani,

Indore

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