‘Silence Period’ marks the start of the mega seven-phase electoral exercise

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The 48-hour period preceding the conclusion of voting is called the ‘silence period’ during which any kind of political campaigning is prohibited. The 91 Lok Sabha constituencies spread over 20 states and Union Territories which will go to polls on April 11, 2019 marking the start of the mega Seven-phase electoral exercise to elect the 17th Lok Sabha. The heated mud slashing and character assassination through the street corners and public meeting come to an end, while electorates will began making up their mind on who to vote for.

In the first phase, voting will take place in all the 25 Lok Sabha seats of Andhra Pradesh, 17 seats of Telangana, five seats of Uttarakhand, two seats each of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya, and one seat each of Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands as well as Lakshadweep.

In the state of Meghalaya, which also votes on April 11 to elect two representatives for the 17th Lok Sabha, is said to be all set to participate in the largest festival of democracy. Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer affirmed that the state is all geared up for a peaceful election.

In the case of the electorates, the masses have started to take interest in the Lok Sabha election only in the last minute like they do for Assembly or District Council elections. The political pundits have attributed the rise of interest as being sensitized about the role of central government and the schemes and projects.

As the electorates have taken more interest in the state of Meghalaya, it also means the voting percentage are expected to increase this time compared to the last Lok Sabha election in 2014. Even the training to the polling agents and all machineries for the polling were conducted in various phases.

It is also evident that this time the electorates are all set to elect a ‘Performer’ to represent them in the Parliament from both Tura and Shillong Parliamentary constituencies. This time the elected members need to perform, not only to air the interest and grievances of Meghalaya, but to grasp more central schemes and projects, particularly for economic growth of the masses.

The dominating issues during the campaign in Meghalaya were unemployment, farmers and agricultural sectors, besides the normal agenda of road, inter-state border issues and of course the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2016.

It is time the elected representatives from day one work on Health and Education sectors for the state, and most important of all demand more quotas for the employment in central offices, attract more investors, and coordinate with the State Legislatures not only in legislating laws but also for structural and infrastructural development.

As the state government jobs are saturated, and there are no Multi-National Companies (MNC), the avenue for employment is limited. Hence, the newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs) need to work hard in order to reduce the gap of unemployment for the educated youth in the state. At the same time, they need to sensitize the masses to maintain peace and harmony in order to promote tourism and attract more investors to the state.

As the ‘Silence Period’ creeps into the state, it is also the time for the electorates to start making up their mind to elect the best to represent the state in the Parliament as the performer. They must choose someone who understands the nerves and requirement of the people of Meghalaya.