This day that age

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(dated March 9, 1962)
(dated March 9, 1962)

(From an editorial)

Wasted votes

Now that three general elections under the present Constitution have been held, the time has come for an enquiry into the working of adult franchise in our country. It is obvious that the experience gained in 1951-52 and 1957 has enabled the Election Commission to improve the election machinery and eliminate the defects noticed in the earlier elections. But having regard to the size of the country, the distance and the variety of terrain involved, it is undoubtedly a great advance that we could complete the elections over almost the entire country within a few days. Another significant change that has been effected since the second general elections is in the adoption of the marking system for voting.

While this change has considerably simplified the polling arrangements, the voting results clearly show that large numbers of voters have not understood the correct method of marking the ballot paper. Over the country as a whole, 4-5 per cent of the votes cast seem to have become invalid and in several constituencies the margin between the successful candidate and his nearest rival is smaller than the total number of invalid votes. The enquiry we have suggested will have to go thoroughly into the reasons for the large number of invalid votes so that proper steps may be taken by the Government, as well as the organised political parties, to prevent a recurrence of the phenomenon of millions of wasted votes.

Smoking and lung cancer

England's Royal College of Physicians in its report has stated that “death rates from lung cancer increase steeply with increasing consumption of cigarettes.” “Heavy cigarette smokers may have 30 times the death rate of non-smokers. Cigarette smokers are much more affected than pipe or cigar smokers”, the report added. It said: “Smoking is a cause of lung cancer though there are other causes such as air pollution and substances met in a few occupations. None of these is of such general importance as smoking. If the habit ceased, the number of deaths caused by lung cancer should fall steeply in the course of time. Those who gave up smoking have a reduced death-rate.”



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