NEW DELHI-: Electioneering for the Parliament and eight assemblies has reached feverish pitch with top political leaders zigzagging across the country on whistled stop tours to woo voters and galvanize their party set-ups.

Though poll fever has not reached its crescendo roadside tea shops and eating joints have become hubs of animated discussions and poll forecasts.

Over 25000 aspirants are locked in electoral combat for 537 seats to the lower house of Parliament and 1464 Assembly seats up for grabs in the upcoming polls.

Polls to 510 parliamentary seats and assemblies of Kerala Tamil Nadu Uttar Pradesh Haryana West Bengal and Pondicherry will be held on May 20 23 and 26.

Assam will elect its representatives for both the parliament and the state assembly on June 6 and & while Punjab on June 22.

With less than a fortnight left for the battle at the hosting leaders of various political hues are making flying visits to various states to consolidate their vote banks.

Besides seasoned campaigns local-level politicians have embarked on door-to-door canvassing.

Rajiv Gandhi Monday launched his party’s election campaign in West Bengal with a frontal attack on the ruling Left Front government for what he called its “nonperformance”.

Addressing an election meeting in Maharashtra Shekhar flayed the Congress-I’s stability slogan.

He said the troubles in Punjab Kashmir and Assam rose during the rule of Rajiv Gandhi when he was supposed to be heading a Stable government. “If Gandhi could not provide stability with 400 Lok Sabha (Lower house of Parliament) seats how many seat does he want for stability? Shekhar asked.

BJP star campaigner L.K Advani concentrated on Uttar Pradesh said only the National Front-Left allies could protect minorities in the country.

Pre-poll violence has bedeviled the ensuing polls with Bihar bearing the brunt of it. Chief election commissioner T.N.Seshan said “at the moment there is no decision on the postponement of polls in Bihar and there is nothing specifically under consideration”.

He said the commission was awaiting the report of a special team that visited Bihar before deciding on steps to ensure free and fair polls there.

Chief minister Laloo Yaday said the Congress-I the BJP and the SJP were “conspiring” against his government “out of sheer frustration as the mass upsurge in favor of the Janata Dal and its allies had unnerved them.

Elections to two more assembly constituencies Dirba and Sangrur in Punjab was countermanded after militants gunned down the Akali Dal (Panthic) candidate Ajmer Singh.

Ajmer Singh who was contesting for two seats was shot dead near Lot Bandhi village in Sangrur district early Monday.

The Akali Dal (Panthic) formed a few days ago is led by Capt Amrinder Singh a former minister who split from the Akali Dal led by Badal.

The election to two other assembly constituencies-Moga and Bagahapurana-in Faridkot district Was countermanded earlier following the killing of Akali Dal candidate Malkiat Singh who was also contesting two seats.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1991