doing so the caretaker government immediately comes face to face with the requirement that it remain neutral and impartial in order to be able to conduct free and fair elections. However, the two duties need not be contradictory to each other. While pinpointing specific deviations and malpractices, the interim government can make sure that there is an even-handed and equitable approach to preparing for the electoral process. In this respect the fact that it is the Election commission which has the supervisory authority to conduct the polls is a crucial determinant in ensuring impartiality. Notwithstanding the daily barrage of accusations by the ousted political party, the present caretaker government has tried to ensure at every step that it remains truly impartial and neutral with regard to the preparation for, and the conduct of, elections. Two realities alone substantiate this contention. One: The balance and fairness with which government-controlled radio and TV are providing daily coverage to the activities of the ousted political party’s leadership and the invitation to the same ousted party leaders and to independent critics to participate in live debates on electronic media. Two: the very large number of candidates from the ousted party who are freely participating in the electoral process. If the caretaker government was truly biased against the ousted party, then neither of the above two realities would be evident, as they are at present. In an entity as complex and volatile as a nation, the task of looking after only “day-to-day” affairs is itself replete with long-term implications. Except for minor, procedural aspects of administration, most dimensions of government require decisions to be made that have short-term as well as medium-term and long-term consequences. The vital interests of 130 million people cannot be put into a state of suspension for 100 days because each of those days can represent, in real terms, a whole year either gained or lost, depending on whether an important decision is taken when it should be taken, or postponed because it has long-term implications. Perhaps the most difficult challenge that a caretaker government faces is to transcend the limitations of time. From its very inception, a caretaker government and the entire population knows its exact tenure in office. Faced with the task of fulfilling high expectations about conducting effective accountability as well as formulating policies that elected governments tend to avoid because of either their unpleasantness or potential unpopularity a caretaker government has to mobilise active and meaningful support from a variety of groups and organisations, each of which is conscious of the brief nature of the caretaker tenure.