India, world’s largest democracy, is once again ready to witness the power of votes. The Election Commission on March 5 announced the schedule for Lok Sabha polls 2014. Polling will be held in nine phases from April 07 to May 12 and the counting of votes will be held on May 16.
General Elections phase-wise schedule:
Phase 1: April 7 in two states
Phase 2: April 9 – five states
Phase 3: April 10 – 14 states
Phase 4: April 12 – three states
Phase 5: April 17 – 13 states
Phase 6: April 24 – 12 states
Phase 7: April 30 – nine states
Phase 8: May 7 – seven states
Phase 9: May 12 – 3 states.
Andhra Pradesh (40 seats): April 30 (17 seats), May 7 (25)
Arunachal Pradesh (2): April 9
Assam (14): April 7 (5), April 12 (3), April 24 (6)
Bihar (40): April 10 (6), 17 (7), 24 (7), 30 (7), May 7 (7), 12 (6)
Chhattisgarh (11): April 10 (1), 17 (3), 24 (7)
Goa (2): April 17 (2)
Gujarat (26): April 30 (26)
Haryana (10): April 10 (10)
Himachal Pradesh (4): May 7 (4)
Jammu and Kashmir (6): April 10 (1), 17 (1), 24 (1), 30 (1), May 7 (2)
Jharkhand (14): April 10 (5), 17 (5), 24 (4)
Karnataka (28) – April17 (28)
Kerala (20): April 10 (20)
Madhya Pradesh (29): April 10 (9), 17 (10), 24 (10)
Maharashtra (48): April 10 (10), 17 (19), 24 (19)
Manipur (2): April 9 (1), 17 (1)
Meghalaya (2): April 9 (2)
Mizoram (1): April 9 (1)
Nagaland (1): April 9 (1)
Odisha (21): April 10 (10), 17 (11)
Punjab (13): April 30 (13)
Rajasthan (25): April 17 (20), 24 (5)
Sikkim (1): April 12 (1)
Tamil Nadu (39): April 24 (39)
Tripura (2): April 7 (1), 12 (1)
Uttar Pradesh (80): April 10 (10), 17 (11), 24 (12), 30 (14), May 7 (15), 12 (18)
Uttarakhand (5): May 7 (5)
West Bengal (42): April 17 (4), 24 (6), 30 (9), May 7 (6), 12 (17)
Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1): April 10 (1)
Chandigarh (1): April 10 (1)
Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1): April 30 (1)
Daman and Diu (1): April 30 (1)
Lakshadweep (1): April 10 (1)
Delhi (7): April 10 (7)
Puducherry (1): April 24 (1)
Andhra Pradesh including Telangana region: April 30, May 7
Odisha: April 10, 17
Sikkim: April 12
Also Read: Salient features of India’s general election
The schedule was announced by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath along with Election Commissioners H S Brahma and Dr Nasim Zaidi at a press conference held at Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital.
The elections would see more than 81.4 crore voters exercise their ballot; the number of voters is 10 crore more than the last general election held in 2009. The term of the current Lok Sabha expires on June 1 and the new House has to be constituted by May 31.
Sampath said that the EC had taken into consideration factors like examination schedules and weather conditions.
The EC said that electoral roll have already been updated till January 1, 2014 and final rolls have been published in all states.
However, the EC has offered one more opportunity to enroll in the electoral rolls. Camps would be set up on March 9 at all polling booths – around 9,30,000 – across the country to allow people to enroll themselves, the EC said.
The Model Code of Conduct for governments and political parties will come into force with immediate effect.
On the security measures being implemented by the EC, Sampath said, “To ensure free and fair elections we have taken particular care to ensure that people living in vulnerable areas and vulnerable voters are in continuous touch with the election machinery to ensure that they are able to vote uninterpreted by anyone.”
“Adequate number of observers in different categories will be deployed during the forthcoming elections,” he added.
On the neutrality of officials engaged in conduct of elections, Sampath said the EC expects them to discharge their duty without fear or favour.
“Strict action will be taken against officials who are found wanting in any aspect,” the CEC said.
With regards to the steps being taken to curb use of money power in the elections, he said, “The Election Commission has mounted a series of measures for monitoring expenditure; special emphasis is given to check flow of money during elections.”
“Besides expenditure observers, sufficient number of flying squads will be employed to check use of money power,” he added.
An important feature of the polls would be the introduction of paper trail system for electronic voting in some constituencies on a trial basis.
Also, the EC has issued guidelines to political parties asking them to explain the rationale of financing the promises they make in their election manifestos. The guidelines that followed Supreme Court directions in this regard have now been made part of the Model Code.
Another first in the Lok Sabha elections will be the introduction of “None of the Above” (NOTA) option in voting, which came into vogue in the assembly elections a few months ago.
From the coming elections, candidates in a parliamentary constituency in bigger states can spend up to Rs 70 lakh on their campaign, up from Rs 40 lakh in 2011. In the 2009 elections, it was Rs 25 lakh.
I’m writing a blog after four months. Last year during this period I wrote hundred blogs in as many days. I decided to take a break from all the conventional things I did in order to give myself a mini sabbatical.
Here I am, back to blogging while other things happen and occupy my time and mindspace. A lot has happened in the last 120 months and most of them good. Here is a round up of the last 10 years as I step into a new phase of my professional life.
On this day 10 years ago a bunch of us freshly minted graduates gathered at Ridgewood Estate in Gurgaon which would be our home for the next 6 weeks. The following morning the 13 of us were embarking on a career and an experiment. A career in Public Relations and an experiment of having done a first – of signing a three year bond with a company we blindly trusted.
The journey that began on March 1st was a foundation of learning from the best, and discovering our hidden potential one day at a time. We were making new friends, for life. We were changing the way Public Relations was done as time flew by.
Some of us decided to move out of Public Relations completely and some of us decided to stay on. Most of us are no longer with GBM except one who is in the same group but in London. 3 are in Bangalore, 3 are in Mumbai, 3 are in NCR, 2 in California and one in Australia.
I had a fabulous 42 months with my first employer across three cities and still cherish great memories of my time there. In fact I spent two hours this morning at the Genesis BM Gurgaon office catching up with Prema, Zorawar, Nikhil and a bunch of others. My favourites are always the office support staff (Manohar, Vinay etc.) some of whom I met this morning.
After Genesis, a quest to be in a start-up and in political communications took me to APCO Worldwide as its first employee in Mumbai and then to be the first head of corporate communications for a media planning and buying company in India within the Publicis Groupe. Having spent eight years in three metros in three companies I figured that time had come for me to get two years of international experience. That quest led me to Edelman Public Relations (again a first for an Indian to be directed hired by a Top 10 PR firm in the US) in their founding office in Chicago, from where I returned three months ago.
While many who care about my career progress have been curious to know what I’m upto and some are aware I thought I will share some of it here. While Edelman and I had an understanding that I would come back and work with them in their Gurgaon office, the HR managers and their handlers in India felt they needed me in Mumbai. In any other year I would have been open to it but not in an election year – the main reason for my early return was to be involved with political strategy and communications on the weekends and after hours.
That was not meant to be and we decided to part ways. I am enjoying being a budding social entrepreneur. While I consult for couple of global brands through a PR firm which takes care of my bread, butter and shelter there is a lot going on. I am building couple of intellectual properties in the events space, working for a political campaign and learning through reading about start ups and businesses.
Most of the last 10 years have gone as per plan and I hope the next 10 are as interesting, if not as planned. The last 10 weeks of the last 10 years have been very unique. I have met a lot of old friends and made several new acquaintances.
I want to end by thanking a series of people who have contributed in big ways and small to my professional growth. If I have missed your name and you believe you made an impact on me please send me an email and if i’m convinced I will add your name here.
GBM – Prema, Ashwani, Sheila, Zorawar, Senjam, Sabiana, Nikhil, Alka, Sheena, Anjana, Ashok, Vikram, Girish, Deepshikha,Ajit and all the 12 ALPmates (Bodhi, Moksh, Chitrangada, Madhavi, Ishita, Meghana, Archana, Vidya, Neha, Preeti, Priya, Greishma)
APCO – Margery, Amit, Sanjay, Mrunmaiy, Sheetal and Surojeet.
SMG/VivaKi – Ravi, Srikant, Mona, CVL, Rajesh, Kaushik, Hemang, Jennifer, Maria, Jill, Lena, Cheri, Ashish, Vikas, Andrew, Nikhil, Sanjay, Madhavan, Girish and a bunch of others.
Edelman USA – Rick, Travis, Christopher, Harlan, Nicole, Tamara, Neil, Laura, Kimberley, Mindi, Rachel, Eileen, Karen and Geoffrey.
And last but not the least Robert Holdheim for letting me go, Anant Rangaswami for being a great sounding board, Indrajit Gupta for teaching me humility, Nafisa Islam for being a fabulous friend, Radhika Sharpoorjee for thinking highly of me and Vishwajeet Ganpate for never letting me go.
That’s 60 people and counting. My family and friends have always been my strength but this blog is for the professional connections who made a difference. Watch this space for more…
Several celebrities end up becoming brands themselves. I am neither a celebrity nor wish to be one. I write this blog because some individuals in the recent past have in a joking way referred to me as one because of the various things I do that may seem unusual, which in reality are not.
I feel my greatness is in my smallness and the only thing I’m proud of is my humility. Contrarian as it may sound, it is what it is. I will soon step into the new chapter of my professional life and I’m looking forward to the future.
Having spent two full years in one of the most evolved consumer markets in the world I feel charged for the next stint back in my home country. While the details of my next innings are still being ironed out I felt it is good to write this blog so there is more clarity for me and those who will be professionally engaged with me in the future. Just makes it easy.
Firstly, I am not a brand and don’t wish to be one. There maybe people who aspire to be brands but I’m certainly not one of them. That being said well wishers and adversaries from time to time will try to paint you as a brand for personal joy or personal gain.
This brings me to the new brand that is selling like hot cake in India. The man who is completely a creation of the mainstream and social media. While time will tell what becomes of him one thing is clear all said and done a lot of time, money and energy has been spent to build this larger than life persona of someone who is nothing more than decisive.
The beauty of life is that each one is unique and each one comes with a point of view that is distinct. In the end what we do with what we have is all that matters. I write these blogs for myself but because I’m open you have access to read this and I’m glad you do.
Barely used furniture in excellent (as good as new) condition available for pick up from Presidential Towers in the West Loop on 27th, 28th, 29th October. Entire set for $650 or individual pieces available – Chest of Drawers , Bed (with complimentary mattress, side table, duvet and pillows) , Dining set includes 4 chairs , Big sofa bed with 2 pillows , Small sofa bed . Anyone who takes it all also gets 3 standing lamps, 1 study table and stool, 1 shopping cart for free, if interested. Contact amithpr at gmail dot com – All colors as seen in pictures except of duvet.
Sometimes it just helps to share one’s schedule publicly so others don’t can plan to engage you better. I like to do this once or twice a year and put out my proposed travel and holiday plans so I can share the link with family, friends and acquaintances who want to make plans that involve me. This is the proposed travel for the next 14 months.
Texas for Labor Day weekend Sept 1st and 2nd
India for PRAXIS – September 19th to 29th (includes travel days)
London – September 30th and October 1st
Canada – October 11th to 13th
Boston, New York, Miami – November 1st to 15th
To India for the next phase on November 21st
Bangalore – December 7th to 9th (may travel via Nagpur)
Mangalore – December 28th and 29th (travel on 30th via Udupi to Goa)
Goa – December 30th to January 2nd (post Goa, either to Mangalore or back to base)
Shillong – Feb 21st to 23rd
Kasauli – March 1st and 2nd
Mangalore – May 2nd (for a day)
Canada – May 3rd to 10th (From Mumbai may fly via Seattle) – for a course
Pune – around 17th July (To Be decided)
Madrid, Spain – September 21st to 23rd (+2 days) – for a conference
Krakow, Poland – September 26th to 28th – for a pilgrimage
Varanasi – October 25th and 26th
ETHEL PRABHU was a sister, mother, friend and teacher par excellence. She was born and raised in Mangalore spending most of her adult life in the teaching profession. Having taught at schools in Mumbai, Hong Kong, Muscat and Mangalore she was great at what she did. She was a strong supporter of attributes like Equality, Excellence and Empowerment.
The ETHEL PRABHU Foundation seeks to keep the attributes alive by:
awarding the Best Teacher Award for Teaching Excellence in collaboration with Sandesha, Mangalore (which includes a cash prize of Rs 10,000, now in the eleventh year),
offering the annual scholarship of Rs 5000/- each to four deserving Kannada medium students in two Mangalore schools – one where she studied at: the St Agnes High School (two Class 10 toppers/ these are named after her older sisters – Sr Marie Ange & Sr Amritha – who were nuns in the same congregation that runs the school and they both passed away in the last decade) and the one where she worked the longest at: the St Aloysius High School (two class 10 toppers) to Empower them to study further and
continuing the sponsorship of two underprivileged & disabled young children at Ferrando Speech and Hearing Centre in Shillong to help bring about Equality.
She lived a life striving for justice. In a short span of 51 years she made a lasting impression on many with whom her path crossed. This blog commemorates her 10th death anniversary. This day in 2001 was when my mother breathed her last. It was a life defining moment and I owe a lot of what I am today to her, to my upbringing and to those weeks immediately after her passing away on 10th August. In the last 12 years I have tried my best to support causes that were close to her heart and to streamline various initiatives I put together a foundation on her 10th death anniversary.
While the website has a gist of what the foundation aims to do I also want to outline three more initiatives being added this year taking the annual giving to Rs 1,00,000/- (a small sum, but given that this amount comes out of my annual savings earned through a fixed salary income and not from inheritances or donations, it isn’t small). This year we launch the World Youth Day WYD fund to support a Young Mangalorean to attend the WYD where the person chosen through an application process is funded upto Rs 60,000/- or 90% of the cost (whichever is lower; this is based on Rs 20,000 set aside every year as WYD is a once in 3 year event) to be able to attend the World Youth Day. The next one is in Krakow, Poland. Secondly, we launch the teaching time where I will personally devote one week of either paid or unpaid leave to spend six 8-hour days with students in five institutions, starting 2014, to interact, guide and foster young talent and there is no monetary value attached to this commitment other than a travel cost of Rs 20,000/. Lastly, we launched a knowledge fund to give away 75 books as prizes through three Twitter quizzes organised every four months called the Twizathon, which is gearing for the third edition in October and has an investment of Rs 20,000/-
A Facebook page has been created for the Foundation and you are welcome to interact there. In one dozen years we have taken the number of initiatives upto six and from a Rs 20,000 annual commitment a decade ago we have multiplied the Giving to five times. We look for meaningful initiatives to support and hope to make a small difference in the lives of as many young people in the years to come. And as we do all this we know the woman who is the inspiration behind these programmes is smiling down from somewhere.
I have written about the event I attended in a previous blog. I have also written couple of columns which will soon be published in an online outlet and an article for an Indian Youth Magazine which focus on the communications and organisational aspects of the event. This blog focuses on my experiences of being in the marvelous city, the exposure to culture and lifestyle & the new friends I made ending with some philosophical thoughts.
The most beautiful aspect of the event is where several delegates (comprising pilgrims and volunteers) have the good fortune of being hosted by local families either during the event or for the sheer experience of living a semi-exchange programme before the event in a neighbouring city. I was lucky to be hosted by the Cereja family – Renato, Ana and Renata (father and daughter have similar names). This is a simple, middle class family where all three are working – the couple in their 50s and the daughter in her mid-20s. They live in a decent two-bedroom apartment in a suburb and had me stay on an air mattress in their living room for two weeks. Except for their complexion and language they would pass off as any Indian nuclear family. We bonded like we were long lost cousins but in reality I was not even aware of whether I would get to be the guest of a family or end up in one of the schools like many others until the date of check-in. The daughter is Maths teacher and has a boyfriend who spends a night every week in her home (I share this to convey how liberal the society there is). The mother and daughter like most other Brazilians are hooked onto Facebook. And I’m glad our paths crossed.
The culture of Rio in many ways is similar to that of Mumbai and definitely closely linked to Goa because of the Portuguese influence. People are friendly and ready to help. The food is really good. All the three tourist attractions I went to and the three beaches I walked on and played in are world-famous and worth visiting. The city is natural disaster proof and is surrounded by hills, mountains, an urban rain forest and all kinds of water bodies including a lagoon, a bay, the Atlantic Ocean and a river from which the city gets its name (January River). Men and women look gorgeous. The white collar workers dress to kill and are leaders in public display of affection. The city is indeed expensive. On Brazilian Rial is almost half a US dollar.
Last but not the least I made some very interesting friends who were mostly international volunteers like mefrom different continents. The first friend was Martyna Glazik, a Polish girl who lives in Sweden. We were a riot. The next was Dominique Fernandes from Malaysia, who is super fun. Then there were two Indians (one of whom I knew from before) Ankna Arokiam from Hyderabad who lives in Scotland and Sacha Lobo from Mumbai who breathes about Canada. The next set was a brother-sister duo of Martin and Fathima from New Zealand who made this trip so they could bond. Finally, two Americans – Yaxaida Dorame and Tanya Fernandez from Arizona and Texas respectively.
Outside of WYD I also made friends with a coupe from Colombia whom I met at the hotel I spent a night in transit – Andres and Liz who were on their engagement holiday. This in addition to the 20 odd Brazilians including middle aged Rio-based English professor whom I met randomly at a restaurant. This trip was indeed marvelous and I believe every young person should get a chance to attend at least one World Youth Day in his or her lifetime for the sheer experience that it offers. I went for one in 2000 as a pilgrim. At this one I was a volunteer and I want to pay it back. So in 2016 I will sponsor one young person from my home town.
I wish every young person who gets a chance to go to WYD makes sure that he or she gives another brother or sister the chance to get the same experience in the future. If we have paid it forward we have achieved a great deal. It certainly is exciting to go again and again but the joy of sponsoring someone else is living the faith of being Joyful, Kind and Humble. Therefore, I will not be at the World Youth Day in 2016 in Krakow, Poland. If you have not been to one, start saving now so you can go. And if you have been to one find a person you can support. The time is now.