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EC has to act hard

EC has to act hard

Author: Editorial
Publication: News Today
Date: January 2, 2009
URL: http://newstodaynet.com/newsindex.php?id=13628%20&%20section=13

The ruling DMK has lodged a complaint against the Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta saying that he has been biased against it.

The CEO, for his part, seems unperturbed. Right from day one, blistering campaign is being carried out by all the three parties (DMK, AIADMK, DMDK) with the support of their allies, and as expected the constituency has been witnessing some violent incidents involving the cadres and functionaries of the DMK and the AIADMK.

Both the parties have been trading charges of bribing the electorate and it has been reported that the ruling party DMK has been misusing the official machinery including the police.

As a result, based on the CEO's report, the EC has ordered the State government to transfer some senior police officers. This action was ordered by the CEO after he had a great deal of discussion with the district level officers of the government in the aftermath of the violent incidents.

Naresh Gupta has publicly opined that the violence has been a blot on the Election Commission, which has successfully conducted many elections in more vulnerable and volatile areas such as Jammu & Kashmir.

But he also made it clear that the EC could not be blamed for the violence. At the first place, the announcement of the by-election itself was a rude shock to the ruling party DMK, as it had been expecting that it would be conducted along with the general elections for Parliament.

It had the second shock when the MDMK President Vaiko agreed to part with the Thirumangalam seat and gave it to the AIADMK. The third shock was when Karunanidhi's son and Madurai strong man Azhagiri refused to accept the candidature of the party's nominee and declined to lead the campaign, before his brother Stalin met him and mollified him.

The ruling party is very much aware of the fact that it is on a sticky wicket due to the overall failure of governance in the last two and a half years and that the scenario at present is not so favourable as it was during the Madurai West bypoll.

The DMK is also worried that a defeat nowl would not only impact the general elections but would also reflect on the 'capacity' of the Chief Minister's high profile son Azhagiri in winning elections, that too in his own backyard.

The DMK, which qoubted the Election Commission's on its decision of having the by-election in January, has now lodged a complaint against the CEO, suspecting his integrity.

Naresh Gupta has been acquainted with the electoral processes in the State for quite some time and he has led the Election Commission from the front in successfully conducting free and fair elections in the past also in Tamilnadu.

He has been a popular face in the State and is well known for his professionalism and it is not a surprise that the DMK has gone against him. The track record of DMK has not been glorious when it comes to elections. The opposition AIADMK is not noble either! Both are famous for using muscle and money power.

In this kind of a scenario, the State certainly needs officers like Naresh Gupta for ensuring a free and fair election. The DMK's attempt to defame him would not cut much ice either with the EC or with the people.

The 'litmus test' has become a 'prestige issue' for both DMK and AIADMK, but the EC must safeguard the prestige of the electorate.

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