India

Media criticise 'disrespectful' language in India polls

Huge crowds come to listen to politicians in election rallies Image copyright AP
Image caption Huge crowds come to listen to politicians at election rallies

Media in India urge politicians to refrain from using "disrespectful" language in their campaigns during the ongoing general elections.

The first phase of polling started on 7 April. The ninth and last will be held on 12 May and votes will be counted on 16 May.

Politicians are increasingly using "inflammatory and disrespectful" language to criticise their opponents as the election enters its final lap.

"The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) elections are in the final lap and the torrent of vitriol flows unchecked in the name of electioneering…The discourse is getting bitter, personal and shriller by the day but no one seems to care," says the Hindustan Times.

The Times of India also feels the language is "getting real down and dirty as men and women in the fray… have let loose volleys of insults and caustic barbs".

The paper draws attention to the war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the leaders of the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) party in West Bengal state.

Mr Modi said the TMC leader, Mamata Banerjee, makes millions by selling her paintings in contrast with her pro-poor image. The TMC hit back, calling the BJP politician "the butcher of Gujarat" who cannot become the country's PM.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Modi is the BJP's prime ministerial candidate

Mr Modi is accused of doing little to stop anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 which left more than 1,000 dead - an allegation he has always denied.

Mr Modi also called Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi a "low comedian" in one of his rallies last week, the paper adds.

Earlier in the month, a Congress candidate threatened to "chop off" Mr Modi "into pieces" and a BJP candidate said those who did not support his party's prime ministerial candidate "can go to Pakistan".

The Asian Age says such antagonism can lead to "politics of vendetta" which will be an "unmitigated disaster" for the country.

Mango prices drop

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has decided to roll out a red carpet to honour a man who has voted in every general election held in independent India, the Hindustan Times reports.

Shyam Saran Negi cast his first vote in northern Himachal Pradesh state in 1951 - four years after India got independence from Britain.

The commission will honour him when the 97-year-old once again steps out to vote on 7 May.

And finally, domestic consumers in India may benefit from a planned European Union (EU) ban on Indian mango imports, The Times of India reports.

The price of Alphonso mangoes, an expensive variety of the fruit, has decreased in the Indian market after the EU announced its decision, the report says.

"Traders said prices of export quality mangoes have dropped by almost 500 rupees (£5, $8) per box from the usual 3,000 rupees (£30, $50)," the paper writes.

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