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Mainstream, VOL LX No 4, New Delhi, January 15, 2022

Letter to the readers, Mainstream, Jan 15, 2022

Friday 14 January 2022


Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, January 15, 2022

The Dates for the 2022 State Assembly elections have been announced by the Election Commission of India for the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur, these would be held between Feb 10 and March 7 with counting slated for March 10. The coming elections matter in every state but in UP they are of special importance, given that it is politically the most influential state of India – with the largest population and also with the highest number of seats in the Parliament. The 2022 state elections results could influence how things shape up for the 2024 national parliamentary elections. The election campaign is gathering steam in all the states. In Uttar Pradesh state election propaganda on the development work done by the UP government seems to have bombarded the streets, in all major cities of the state with large-sized electronic screens, hoardings, advertisements in the print media, on radio, on TV. Advertisements and hoardings with the photo of the current chief minister of UP can be seen in Delhi’s bus stops and even on the Lucknow Delhi Highway. There is so much of it from one side i.e. the ruling BJP, that, it appears very disproportionate since the election publicity by the opposition parties seems to be on a much smaller scale. Reports in the past by Association for Democratic Reforms have revealed the unequal levels of election funding – with the ruling party taking the cake and the opposition getting very small amounts in comparison. The coming election campaign is likely to further confirm the tilted scales. Money or not, the election commission should ensure equal amounts of time for all the candidates on all state media. Now the election campaign mass rallies are being restricted due to fear of spreading Covid19 and parties have been told to give priority to digital modes of communication. One other important development connected to the Covid-19 Omicron variant is the economic disruption it is causing — some 3000 garment export units in Noida have shut down. There are growing reports of migrant workers from the cities of Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay slowly leaving for villages or their home towns as had happened at the time of the Covid 19 lockdown. No assessments are available of the scale of migration of the jobless and how, if this may impact voting in the coming elections. While patriarchy rules across the entire political spectrum in North India, the Congress party has announced 40 percent women in the overall list of candidates for the UP poll; it has gone a step further by naming the mother of Unnao rape victim as the Congress candidate in UP polls of Feb-March 2022. This move by the Congress party needs to be widely applauded and supported.


Sidney Poitier the acclaimed American film actor who made his film debut in 1950s
passed away on Jan 8, 2022. Some of the actor’s most memorable roles were in the films Porgy and Bess (1959)‘To Sir, with Love’ (1967), and ‘In the Heat of the Night’(1967)

Narayan Singh - a founder member and activist of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) in Rajasthan passed away on Jan 9, 2022.

Professor Chandrashekar Patil, the noted Kannada writer is known for his revolutionary literature (Bandaya Sahithya) passed away on Jan 9, 2022. He participated in several social and literary movements including the agitation against the Emergency in 1975

Kamal Khan, the popular TV journalist of NDTV news channel, passed away on January 14, 2022 He was a recipient of the Ramnath Goenka Award for journalists.

Maria Aurora Couto a writer, critic, and educationist from Goa known for her book Goa: A Daughter’s Story, passed away on Jan 14, 2022. She helped start the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas

We pay tributes to all of the above people

Jan 15, 2022 – HK

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