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May 06, 2004's expert panel and its battery of reporters across the country answer readers' poll queries:

Dheeraj, Pune

When educated people will come to know importance of voting? There is no use of elections if only 47% vote in Pune.


Answer: Educated people will vote when they have credible candidates to vote for. But at the same time, as long as they do not vote, we will continue to be blessed with the candidates we have now. It's a vicious cycle which must be broken.


Sandeep Lodhia, USA

During which week should rupee become weaker against US $? Any idea?


Answer: I am a Pundit, Sandeep, not God.


Vivek Sharma, Jamshedpur

Punditji, how come that the now-moderate BJP is regarded as a "Communal Force" by the so-called third front but wasn't it communal in the 1989 elections, when the same parties had aligned with it; when it actually used to have a very hardliner agenda?


Answer: Just as there are no permanent enemies in politics, there are also no permanent friends either. The only thing permanent in politics is interest.  However, you must remember that the situation changed dramatically after senior BJP leader L K Advani's rath yatra in support of the Ram temple movement in 1991 and the subsequent demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.

Giridhar, West Lafayette, US

With the new high court order banning those behind bars to contest, will there be re-election in the constituencies where those behind bars contested? Or will just the votes got by them be discarded?


Answer: There is no high court ban on jailbirds contesting elections. It was a suggestion made by the HC, which the Election Commission challenged on Wednesday in the Supreme Court.


Rajendra, Austin, Tx

Sir isn't it a shame that the INC feels that in spite of having a 100 crore population we need an Italian citizen to rule us...its really a shame for the nation.


Answer: The Constitution and the Supreme Court say nothing against Sonia's running for prime minister. Congress, of course, has suffered by concentrating too much power in one family.


Ganesh, Indianapolis

How does one "file a nomination".? Is there a form to be filled out by prospective candidates? Is the procedure the same for the Lok Sabha and state legislatures? Where does one file nominations?


Answer: Sir, this link in the Election Commission's website will help answer your query --


R Ghai, Delhi

There was a question asking if politicians should be tested on things like IQ etc before being eligible for election. You replied that the educational qualification should be enough, but will it really be enough, considering how easy it is for anyone to simply "buy" educational qualifications in India? Maybe we do need a method to at least judge the suitability of the candidate before public exposure? This of course is under the premise that a educationally qualified candidate will at least better on more counts than an uneducated one and says nothing about the level of honesty and integrity of the candidate as even candidates who have been involved in criminal activities being routinely fielded.


Answer: Educational qualification is just one way of making sure the candidates conform to certain standards. There are several such criterions that must be applied. It should be made mandatory they have no criminal record. It should made sure they pay their bills and taxes…


And, of course, as you mentioned an educated candidate does not necessarily mean a good candidate, but one has to make a start somewhere.


Dr Ram, Riverside, CA, USA

Dear sir,i live in us and i do follow politics in both the countries .in us exit polls are always after closing of polls and are very accurate with two party system. how accurate are indian exit polls with multi party, multiple factors like local issues, caste etc. please enlighten me where i can get past exit polls and actual results? ireally appreciate your help. thank you dr.ram


Answer: Dr Ram, psephology is still in its infancy in India. In the assembly elections to five states last year, pollsters got Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh completely wrong. Things are, however, improving rapidly.


Praveen, USA

Can I make a "Postal Vote" from the US? If yes, how do I register?

Answer: No. You can't.


Shailesh Kkotadia, Mumbai



Answer: The stock markets rose to dizzying heights under the BJP rule. So, any change in government will lead to some nervousness.  Some nervousness is already evident with exit polls predicting that the NDA may find it difficult to win a clear majority.


Manish, Delhi

All the time we hear that Uttar Pradesh will decides as who becomes the PM. Isnt this a bit absurd. One of the BIMARU states has all the strings. Its high time they divide this large state and make it comparable with most of other states. What do ya say?


Answer: This BIMARU state sends 80 MPs to Parliament. That is its strength. This state has already been divided. Uttaranchal was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. Is there a case for another division? Yes, but it is easier said than done.


Punditji i am a layman so please clarify when will be 2/3 majority will be asked?


Answer: A 2/3rd majority is required only to make Constitutional amendments. At all other times, all it takes is a simple majority to run a government.

im4u, Mumbai

Can't BJP produce a good leader who can walk well, talk well & does not sleep or forget on dias where as India's more than 60% population is below 35 years?


Answer: They have several leaders of the kind you describe. But none of them has the nationwide appeal that a 79-year-old man called Atal Bihari Vajpayee has.


Mridula, Hyderabad

Will we have the good fortune of Chandrababu Naidu becoming the CM for this term also?

Answer: If one goes by the results of exit polls, which are the best indicators available at this point of time, Naidu may be voted out of power. But it is best to await the results.


Answers to previous questions


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