It’s my time

Samajwadi Party candidate Jayaprada Nahata’s biggest problem on the campaign trail is to deal with requests from party functionaries to be allowed to speak while she is on stage. This curtails her speech time. On Thursday at Paan Dariba in Rampur, she had the bitter experience of election observers snatching her mike to prevent her crossing the 10 p.m. deadline for canvassing.

Where are the women? Sweltering heat and the ongoing marriage season seem to have taken a toll on women voters in Rajasthan, with the turnout being only 44.75 per cent against 51.59 per cent for men. The Lok Sabha constituencies in eastern Rajasthan registered a very poor turnout of women, with only 28.86 per cent of them exercising their franchise in Karauli-Dholpur and 32.18 per cent in Bharatpur. Some candidates were heard complaining that women voters had spoiled their month-long backbreaking election campaign.

Reverse flow The dynamics of elections appear to have changed. Earlier, money used to flow to the candidates from voters. Now, it is the reverse. BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu recalled how people used to welcome him with drums when he contested elections in Udayagiri district of Andhra Pradesh in 1978 and 1983. He would be taken to the temple and offered a coconut, betel leaves and Rs. 500 in all villages. He spent only Rs. 64, 000 on his first election and saved Rs. 16, 000. The saving was handed over to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, of which he was a member.