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Three states vote for Women's MiniStree

Be it the results of the state polls, the Taj scam or disinvestment obstacles - Indians continued to astonish themselves.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:12 IST
PTI

(Prakash Pillai)

In one of the greatest surprises in Independent India's electoral history, the assembly elections to the five states held in December 2003, propelled two new women leaders to the post of Chief Minister. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two prominent states in the Hindi- belt known for its low women literacy and poor socio-economic indicators, have for the first time voted women leaders to power.

While Uma Bharti was preferred over Digvijay Singh in Madhya Pradesh, the electorate voted for Vasundhara Raje instead of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan. Although the Congress victory in Delhi under Shiela Dikshit did not come as a complete surprsie, it just added to the grwoing presence of the fairer sex in Indian politics. With Dixit, Raje and Bharti joining Bihar's Rabri Devi and Tamil Nadu's J Jayalalithaa, the number of women chief ministers in the country has now gone upto five.

The assembly elections to Delhi, MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram also proved how unpredictable the Indian voters are. The Indian electorate seems to be perfecting the art of proving the pollsters wrong. Pollsters and psephologists went scurrying for cover as soon as the results started pouring in, as almost all predictions went awry.

Like in the case of Tamil Nadu last year, the pollsters were unable to read the undercurrent in the three states. They were swayed too much by events like Judeo caught on camera and were unwilling to ignore the charisma of Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Ashok Gehlot and Digvijay Singh. Hope this experience makes the pollsters wiser and they take corrective steps before the general elections next year.

Written off by political pundits, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came back with a thumping majority in three of the five states that went to polls. The BJP swept Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan while upset the Congress applecart in Chhattisgarh. Assembly elections to the fives states were billed as a showdown to the finale - the general elections to the Lok Sabha scheduled in November next year.

The poll results dealt a bloody blow to the projections about a resurgent Congress marching ahead to wrest power from the BJP-led NDA next year, as it lost power in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to the BJP while the Mizo National Front retained power in Mizoram. Congress could only manage to retain its position in Delhi.

Assembly Elections 2003


Consumer disconnected as Govt springs Telecom surprise

(Naresh Mathur)

The Government's decision to introduce a unified license for all categories of telecom service providers came as a surprise to all within and outside the industry. The issue had split the industry virtually down the middle with cellular service providers opposing a unified license and basic or limited mobility service providers clamouring for it.

Since the tug of war had been on for over two years, the speed with which the government consulted all parties and finally took a decision to introduce unified licensing regime, surprised many. The first half of 2003 saw hectic negotiations between the concerned industry participants before the Cabinet gave it approval in late October. The government notification came later on November 10.

While detractors may continue to look for hidden benefits which a unified licensing regime brings to telecom giants like Tata or Reliance, no one doubts the advantages of better connectivity, fewer interrupted conversations and seamless services that are expected to accrue to the consumer.

The Tariff Wars

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 21:09 IST