High-decibel campaign has begun and many politicians have already started resorting to rhetoric, including immature and nonsensical ones as the 17th Lok Sabha elections draw near. It is increasingly becoming clear that the upcoming elections will be one of the most keenly-contested electoral contests in Indian history. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in a blog post lashed out at the Congress over its dynastic politics saying that the people of the country voted decisively for honesty over dynasty in 2014 and asked the public to “remember the past and how one family’s desire for power cost the nation so greatly.” Responding to the blog post, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the new entrant to politics, said that the current government has systematically attacked every institution in the country, including media. She had earlier described this year’s general elections as a new “freedom struggle,” likening the current situation in the country to the days of British rule when there was no rule of the people and nobody to hear the grievances of the people out. CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury has also claimed that India is facing the most crucial election after Independence.
Such political rhetoric is not uncommon in a democracy, especially in the weeks leading up to the general elections; and it is fine as long as the politicians do not go overboard in their attacks on their rivals. The fact remains that it is not just the upcoming 17th Lok Sabha polls but all elections for that matter are crucial both for the political parties/politicians and the citizens. It is crucial because the political party or alliance that wins will form the government for up to five years and its policies will affect the citizens. However, people from small states, especially in Northeast that have less representation in the Parliament seem to have more interest in the assembly elections than the Lok Sabha. It is apparent that political parties give more focus on states with more parliamentary seats and people from small states may never experience the kind of high-decibel campaigns and election-fever that are witnessed in big cities and states. Political strategists seem to have failed to realise that a seat from a big state is not more significant than one from a small state. Every vote and seat counts; and is equally worth. In fact, in an election like this time where major alliances are in a neck-to-neck competition to form the next government, ignoring small states will cost big because politics is a number game. Winning in small states and union territories will be crucial in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.