'I think we would be better off with a presidential form of govt'
Hindol Sengupta, journalist and author of 100 Things To Know And Debate Before You Vote, believes that if a democracy has to work, the agenda needs to be set by voters as much as by political parties.
Hindol was on Rediff Chat on Wednesday to talk about things that matter -- or should matter -- to most of us as citizens, from financial scams to climate change, women's rights to parliamentary spends.
Hitansh: Which leaders impress you?
I don't want to prejudice anyone's opinion. Everyone's entitled to their opinion.
Kapil kaushal: Budget for Election in thousands of crores. Can this money should be spent on building infrastructure.. rather than buying and selling votes and support!
No. You are wrong. Elections are very critical. We need to spend for elections.
tushar: Who is the best party for india today?
Whoever most people vote for -- that party deserves a chance to run the government.
kaushal: You are too PC, you know, politically correct, Your answers are too careful.. why?
My answers are honest and fair. Why are you looking for biased answers?
Deepak-Kumar Rout: What are your views about the third front, will they pose any threat to BJP or Congress?
The Third Front does not seem very impressive at the moment. But if regional parties get more than 50 seats, who knows?
Guru-Prasad Manderwad: Most of the politicians are not bothered about the development of science and technology. What is your view on this matter?
That's not true. More and more politicians are keen on technology. See UPA's big plan to connect all panchayats with broadband, for instance.
ulfat: I don't understand why so much tax money should go in elections? Can't the costs be controlled?
Tough to - we are a really big country. But it is worth every paisa. We are a democracy. We have to spend on having free and fair elections.
alex: Will you trust Rahul Gandhi to a good PM sir?
If people vote for him and his party, he deserves a fair chance.
salim-ahmed: Sir, BJP has nominated its PM, but why congress not nominated? any reason..?
Congress has made it clear that if it wins, Rahul Gandhi will be PM.
mustafa: How do we hold them accountable? Once they win, they are in for five years... enough time to make pots and pots of money
You can hold them accountable by petitioning, via social media, by asking questions, hundreds of ways.
naman: Have you been to Gujarat? Are Modi's claims true?
I go to Gujarat almost once every month. Many things like electricity is fantastic in Gujarat - of course more can be done. But much has been done too.
hitansh: Why are the north east states always ignored?
That is a missing link. We need to correct it. But good news is Assam is being spoken about more and more, as is Sikkim.
tushar: Who do you wish will win this time?
Whoever most voters in India vote for - we should welcome any winner who wins the faith and votes of the people.
salim-ahmed: thank you so much sir, for responding the people in view of elections..!
Thank you. :)
ashok raut: What document required to cast the vote ?
Voter id card.
mustafa: Does it worry you that Modi might be India's next PM?
I believe in democracy. Anyone that the people vote to power should get a fair chance at running the country. Leave it to the people to decide.
ulfat: What changes should be there in our election system?
Well, I would think we would be better off with a presidential form of government. Across party lines, from Shashi Tharoor to Arun Shourie has said this is better suited for India.
Jeswal: Aren't manifestos just a lot of hogwash?
Only if we forget them easily or don't read them - we should hold parties accountable for their promises.
Rachit Patil: In BJP Manifesto it is written that they simplify the taxation patterns...what does it mean? Is it for salaried persons? or on other good tax & other...
It is a hint towards the GST which will simplify taxation. GST is Goods and Services Tax.
naman: Shouldn't there be a policy whereby ineffective MPs are shunted out within a year and fresh elections take place? or at least the guy who came second should become MP? and so on?
No. One year is too little for any MP to do any real work and show any real progress.
Deepak: Don’t you think population control should be a major issue for elections ?
We should discuss how to bring down the population for sure - but not forced population control.
hitansh: Have you considered joining politics? Do give reasons
No, I am happy as a journalist for now. :)
tushar: Our governments don't do anything for the people except take our money... why should we vote?
That's not true. A good government can do marvels. Look at what Jaya has done for food in TN or Shivraj for agriculture in MP.
Deepak: Delhi assembly election kab honge?
Not declared yet.
Patel: Hi is there any provision to do voting online?
yogendra srivastava: We should vote definitely for change govt. once bjp and cong not to other local state parties bcz they r shelfish so that this time vote for bjp for changes
Vote for anyone you want, but vote.
jinny: I agree with Alex... Except for Sunil Dutt, no one has done anything for their constituency. Do you agree Hindol?
I don't think film stars usually make good politicians.
Venkatesh Selvaraj: I had been observing that all elections are happening at this time where we have school exams, is no one there to move schedule to Q3 ? It should be a permanent solution, it is applicable for IPL too....
That's a good point. Worth thinking about.
alex: Celebrities in politics -- a gimmick that will backfire? Gul Panag and Kiron Kher are fighting against each other... a little funny na?
No - I think in a democracy, anyone should be free to participate. Let the public decide.
naman: Why do Indian politicians always focus on the negative?
They don't. There is a lot of talk of development this time.
Jeswal: Is this the end of the road for the Shiv Sena?
No, I don't think it is the end of the road for the Shiv Sena - but they do need to desperately reinvent themselves.
mustafa: Nitish Kumar bhai saab ka hoga? Doobenge ya bachenge?
Nitish Kumar is in trouble but his track record of development is very strong.
sumankalyan meher: What about BJP in Odisha....Will they get 5 seats here specially in western Odisha Koushal.....
The BJP in Odhisha is stronger than what the BJD thinks - but not as strong as the BJP itself thinks.
dananjaypuri: Is it better to support a state party or a national party?
I would say vote for a national party - this is a national election.
sonu jee: Why Rahul Gandhi is not asked uncomfortable questions..like all other leaders..?
He is actually. Even the interview he did, it was full of tough questions.
rakesh: Has the Congress really harmed the country or have there been any benefits from the Congress rule?
Oh there have been lots of benefit. But they could have done much much more.
hitansh: Why did you think of writing a book about what one must know before one votes?
Because our entire poll debate seemed to be devoid of issues - we must discuss issues!
tushar: What do you think of the film stars who will not be india on voting day but will attend an awards ceremony?
I don't think about them. :)
jinny: Should i vote for the person or the party?
Both - person and party.
ulfat: To what extent has rahul harmed the congress?
He should have taken complete charge and a position in the party and the government long ago. His refusal to undermined the party.
Jeswal: How important will regional parties be?
If they get more than 50 seats, quite important.
Yogesh Sonawdekar: I am travelling abroad on election dates. Is there any option to vote available for me?
No such provision at the moment.
Jignesh Kaisth: What impact will the aap have?
Huge impact on mindset - we now believe that anyone can enter politics. Smaller impact this time on number of seats.
alex: Are young voters interested in politics?
Yes! Increasingly very important.
ARIF JAMAL-KHAN: I haven't got my voter's card yet, what do i do?
Reach out to the nearest election commission office.
Vinayak Tavade: How mature do you think are India's voters?
More mature than the press gives them credit for.
mustafa: How clued in are young voters today in your experience?
Very clued in the cities especially. This is a game changing election.
Lalji Margasahayam: Will young people in india vote more?
I hope so!
Amit Shellar: Do you think modi will become pm?
He has a chance for sure - but no one can guarantee anything in an Indian election.
salim: How many seats do you think AAP will get
I would think about 10 - but could go up to 20.
I haven't got my voter's card yet, what do i do?
Reach out to the nearest election commission office.
dananjaypuri: Why is kejriwal being slapped around so much? has the party lost its sheen?
We have to check and investigate these incidents. Tough to make a general statement.
Chitra Gopal: The brief of RSS is win the election at any cost. Other issues at the moment not relevant and will come to play when they are in majority, like they had done in Karnataka. So wait and watch
Yes, they will. For one simple reason - no one, I repeat no one, can function as prime minister of India without being plural.
No one can rule India unless they are plural. Not possible.
haresh: What are the chances of a hung parliament according to you?
I would say about 30% chance of a hung parliament.
vishal: You have written about elections. Can you make a tentative forecast of the number of seats for NDA and UPA?
My bet is around 220 - 230 for the BJP, 280 for NDA, 100 for Congress, 130 or so for UPA.
mustafa: Do you think jayalalithaa or mamata stand a chance of becoming PM?
I don't think so. But you never know. Jaya definitely thinks she has a chance. Let's see.
Nitin Deshmukh: What are the issues that form the core of India's election promises?
Development, Development, Development.
Eknath Gangulee: Vote or not to vote -- what's the difference?
Huge difference - if you don't vote, no change will come. Please vote.
shabnam yamin: my vote for only congrss........
That's fine - vote for who you want. As long as you vote.
Ok folks, have to wind up now. Thank you very much for your q-s. Before you vote please read 100 Things To Know And Debate Before You Vote and vote on real issues!
Image: Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi