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HindustanTimes Tue,25 Nov 2014

Dead end or hazy horizon?

Col Avnish Sharma (retd)   March 25, 2014
First Published: 09:44 IST(25/3/2014) | Last Updated: 09:50 IST(25/3/2014)

A morning walk at Chandigarh's Sukhna Lake is a stress buster. Besides being of exercise value, it is the house of chatters, both of the avian and human kind. The inhibited views and gossip after a sleep-induced silence of nightly hours, makes your day.

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The day after the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll schedule, we went for an unplanned morning jaunt at this paradise of walkers and talkers. The place was abuzz with the top of discussion being obvious.

The first group, comprising newly qualified voters, was vociferous, confused and had conflicting views on parties and candidates. It's unlikely they would reach a decision on whom to vote for by April 10. One conviction struck me though given their age and generation: they despised political leaders using aggressive, violent and unparliamentary language to promote self or demote others. Augurs well for the nation.

A little ahead, giving the routine surya namaskar and pranayam a miss, a group of senior citizens were more incisive and forthright in their views. Discussing corruption and governance as two glaring moot points, they seemed disillusioned with the present state of affairs and sought a change.

One particularly quiet old man expressed his reservations on the other two emerging parties and cited long experience of the present government. All in all, it turned out to be an inconclusive debate.

The atmosphere at the lake couldn't be more charged when one crossed paths with the sitting MP and a rival candidate taking an intense walk.
Soon after, we met my school pals, the chronic lake visitors, and got chatting at the bird watching point. Everybody had diverse views.

Analysing the walk and talk session while driving back home, my a political wife remarked, "The popular perception is that we have reached a dead end but at the same time the horizon is hazy. The voter today is in no hurry to form an opinion or follow the bandwagon.

This time round it shall be an interesting contest. But I only hope Chandigarh remains a 'city of peace' as is inscribed on the plaque at the entrance of Sukhna Lake."

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