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PUNJAB- Elections and After

October 5, 1985 PUNJAB Elections and After Harish K Puri THE peaceful and smooth conduct of elections was a decisive second step towards normalisation and the beginning of hope. The Rajiv Gandhi-Sam Longowal Accord in July 1985 and, more so, their mutual perceptions and respect for each other's genuineness of good intentions was the first. The determination to hold early elections in the face of formidable odds, appears in retrospect, to have been an aspect of political wisdom. An unexpectedly impressive 66,54 per cent turnout of voters, larger than that in 1977 and 1980, underlined the eagerness of the people to regain a peace with dignity through the instrument of ballot. The call for a boycott of elections, given by the United' Akali Dal was categorically rejected. It did not mean that the deep alienation and anger of the Sikh community on which the Dal counted had been banished. The positive difference lay in the fact that the members of the community chose to register those very sentiments against a hated regime through the available alternative. Had the 'United' Akali Dal chosen to contest the elections, the victory of the Akali Dal (Longowal) might have been a little less impressive.

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