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April 29, 2004's expert panel and its battery of reporters across the country answer readers' poll queries:


Aby Sam Varghese, Alappuzha

What if the reforms on the economic front gets stalled by a hung parliament? What if the left parties support a Congress-led govt & oppose all the reforms on the economic front?


Answer: I am a poll pundit, Mr Varghese, not a guru of economics J. But the concern is very real and it is reflected in the recent crash in stocks. A new government would mean a period of uncertainty -- stock markets hate uncertainties. However, it is also time to look for some smart bargains. So, speak to your broker. Also, check these stories out:


'Reforms to go on, no matter who's in power'

Exit polls: Corporate India unfazed

Exit polls cost market Rs 55,000 cr


Vijay, Calcutta

Is there any website where I can see who is contesting and from which party in each constituency?

Answer: Yes sir. The Election Commission's website is a good source for this information -


Pavan, Ames, IA, US

Hi, it's amazing to see people who recently came into politics, running to become PM. As an Indian citizen, as per equality, can I also have same chances to become PM, or do I have to have a particular LAST name for that?. Thanks, Pavan.


Answer: Who is running for prime minister? Are you referring to Rahul and Priyanka? Well, I don't remember them expressing any such desire. As far as you are concerned, Pavan, I think, is a good enough name.


Ashish, USA

In response to a question of voting by NRIs, you mentioned the notion of dual citizenship. NRIs (Non Resident Indian), by its very definition, are Indian citizens. However, you need to be a resident of India to vote and hence NRIs cannot vote.


Answer: I also mentioned Ashish that at the last Pravasi Bharatiya Divas festival in New Delhi, some NRIs had raised this issue and External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha's response was that 'may be, some day it will be possible.'


Mallikarjun, Lexington, KY, USA

Namaste Panditji, can we not device a better method of voter registration so that there is no hardship of not finding your name in the voters list. The voters card have surely failed. My suggestion is that before the election the voters should compulsurly (may be a law should be passed to this effect) register at a e-seva or any such place. I think they should deal with this problem swiftly and efficiently.


Answer: I absolutely agree with you, Mallikarjunji. They made a complete mess of it in Mumbai. Why don't you write with your views to the Election Commission of India -


Nanda Kishore, Singapore

Mr Pundit, I currently stay in Singapore just with a student pass. I still have a vote in India. Is there any procedure for me to vote either by post or any other way?


Answer: No. There is none.


Anjum Samdani, Jakarta, Indonesia

Dear Pundit, what you think will be the outcome in Tamil Nadu after the drastic change in alliances? Will cong + dmk + others work?


Answer: Tamil Nadu is one of the few states where a surprise is likely.  The Cong+DMK+others combination is working well. Also, Jayalalithaa has taken some unpopular decisions like raising the price of power, PDS rice and bus fares.


Prakash, Wheeling, IL USA

I don't have a question but do have a comment and expect a response.. To ques regarding educational qualification for candidates you have said, "One reason for the sorry state of affairs in the country is that we have let politics become the last resort of scoundrels. "I do agree but i would like to see the balme laid sqarely on the educated middle class. WHY? B'coz for some reason the middle class has come to believe that just b'coz they are educated they deserve the vote which reminds me oif congress before Gandhiji transformed it. The educated do not seem to intrested in establishing a rapport with the people but want the people to vote for them .. WHY? The educated class has abdicated it responsiblities and made way for the scum in the society.


Answer: I could not agree more with you. Look at the voter turnouts in urban areas -- it's pathetic. I think we deserve the politicians we get.


Raghunandan V, Bangalore

No party, INC and BJP, seems to have a decent second line of leaders who can be promoted (safely and surely!), without causing loss of administrational ability, leadership and votes. Your comments?


Answer: The BJP has Pramod Mahajan, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley. The Congress was very unlucky in losing some promising leaders under tragic circumstances -- Rajesh Pilot, Madhavrao Scindia. They can't match a Vajpayee or Sonia in popularity? Of course, that is why they are/were second-rung leaders.


Ivan, Mangalore

Why shouldn't the ruling government be evaluated on basis of the manifesto promises at the end of the term by independent agencies to find the fulfillment of promises and then put them to court for fake or unrealistic promises? when cricketer can be charged for match-fixing as public cheating?


Answer: Why not? You can yourself do it, Ivan.


Amith, Hyderabad

Shouldn't the manifesto be made to register as a legal doc, so that people will have a right to challenge politicians in case they don't adhere to their promises?


Answer: Amith, a manifesto is just an expression of intent, a forward-looking statement. It is governed by circumstances. I would love it if manifestos were made legally binding on political parties. But as far as taking a politician/party to court for unfulfilled promises is concerned, it is possible even now.


Kumar, Chennai

Since I was not allowed to vote (due to name strike-out in the voter's list), can I refrain from paying tax to the government which has denied my fundamental right provided by the Constitution?


Answer: If I were you, Kumar, I would not do that.

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