NEW DELHI: With less than two weeks to go before India’s general election, the campaign is only now reaching take off stage. National attention is focused on the most controversial candidate Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who is arguing her case for an absolute majority in the 521-seat Parliament in whirlwind helicopter tours of the 18 states. Other party leaders such as former Deputy Premier Mr. V Desai and rightist Hindu Jan Sangh chief Atal Bihari Vajpayee ... are also campaigning.
…[Elections] are being held for the first time in India’s history to the National Parliament without simultaneous voting — except in three states — to the state assemblies. This deprives candidates of support they usually rely on from their party colleagues running for Assembly seats and makes it more difficult for them to make an impact in every part of their constituencies with national issues that arouse fervour in New Delhi’s political salons but are too remote for many villagers. ... Parties finalised their candidates only last week and without the candidates’ name being known, the party campaign machine cannot start rolling.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2021