Obama gets all-round support here too
By Aparna Unni - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
08th November 2012 02:02 PM
Had the United States elections been held in the state capital here, it is very likely that Barack Obama would have won here also, and that too with a resounding majority. It certainly seemed that way at the mock polls conducted during the US Election Watch programme organised by the US Consulate, Chennai, at the Asian School of Business (ASB), Pallippuram, near here, on Wednesday.
Around 300 students from the ASB, Trivandrum International School (TRINS) and political science students of other colleges, including Mar Ivanios College and University College, Kariavattom, attended the Election Watch, most of them sporting badges supporting the incumbent President Obama.
“I think Obama is the better administrator. The fact that he lowered the defence budget and spent his time rebuilding their economy speaks volumes,” said Abhishek Manilal, a 11th grader from TRINS.
There were a few Romney supporters as well. Another class XI student from TRINS, who did not wish to be named, said, “I don’t really like Obama. I feel there is too much hype about him.”
The students and other invited guests at the Election Watch got to learn about the nitty-gritty of elections and the political system of the United States, including how the Parliamentary system of Federal Democracy in India differed from the Presidential Federal system of government in the US.
“The President, who is directly elected by the people unlike in India, is not all-powerful because there are a lot of checks and balances which will make it difficult for him to take a one-man decision,” said G Gopakumar, Professor Emeritus of the University Grants Commission, who was speaking at the panel discussion.
Apart from elaborating on the US political system, the panelists also presented their views on what the re-election of Obama would mean. “I think Obama will be braver this time and we can probably see more of the ‘change’ he promised the last time because he does not get a third term in office,” said former diplomat T P Sreenivasan, who had predicted Obama’s win in a national daily recently.
However Eric Jepsen, Fulbright-Nehru scholar and Professor at the Political Science Department, University College, Kariavattom, expressed his reservations on the same, stating that it was not wise to raise expectations too high.
“I’m fairly pessimistic because President Obama would still have to content with the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold the majority,” he said.
The US Consulate held Election Watch programmes in several cities in the country, including Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Manipal, apart from Thiruvananthapuram, on Wednesday. These included screening of live coverage of the polling in various US states, analysis of results and live broadcast of speeches by Obama and Romney.
US vice-consul Daniel Lee, political and economic officer Matthew Beh, press and information officer in the US Consulate, Chennai, Heera Kamboj and ASB director S Rajeev were present.
Heera Kamboj told Express that the US stands by its commitment to India in every sphere and holds the vibrant pluralism of the Indian system in high esteem. She clarified that the political divisions of India and pointer towards the country’s context differentiating it with that of the US in the interview carried in TNIE’s columns on Wednesday were not correctly attributed.
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