Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back

Who will guard the guards? Who will punish EC for its abysmal lapses?

Author: Kanchan Gupta
Publication: Niticentral.com
Date: April 30, 2014
URL: http://www.niticentral.com/2014/04/30/who-will-guard-the-guards-who-will-punish-ec-for-its-abysmal-lapses-218502.html

By instructing the Gujarat administration to file an FIR against BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi under stringent sections of the Representation of the People Act, and insisting on compliance by Wednesday evening, the Election Commission of India has neither shown itself to be free of bias nor covered itself with glory. Narendra Modi, according to a complaint filed with the EC by the Congress, allegedly violated the law by taking a selfie and speaking to journalists in a media scrum after casting his vote in Gandhinagar constituency. The Congress took offence on two grounds: He displayed the party symbol, ‘Lotus’, and his comments were directed against the ‘ma-bete ki sarkar’. The EC subsequently construed this as canvassing for the BJP while people were casting their votes. The EC, in its wisdom, has come to the conclusion that this was meant to sway voter opinion.

That’s utter rot. Flashing the party symbol would have in no manner altered voting choices at that hour. People would have made up their minds long before Wednesday. In any event, Modi, as also others representing the Congress, addressed several election rallies elsewhere during the day, which were telecast either in full or in part for viewers to see in the States where polling was being held. If it’s a question of influencing voters, those rallies would have had the same impact. A staggered election – the longest ever – has its drawbacks and the EC should have known that. Instead, it has chosen to be sanctimonious in the most partisan manner. Similar complaints against the Congress and AAP, a proxy of the Congress, have gone unnoticed in Nirvachan Sadan. Outrageous comments by Modi-baiters, ranging from Mulayam Singh Yadav to Farooq Abdullah to Mamata Banerjee, have gone unchallenged by those responsible for conducting a free and fair election.

Worse, the EC is guilty of disenfranchising tens of thousands of citizens of India, stripping them of their right to vote, by deleting their names from electoral rolls. As witnessed in Maharashtra, those who wanted to vote could not do so despite having a voter card because their names had strangely gone missing from the rolls. All that the EC had to say about its towering inefficiency (some would say malicious mischief) was an unmeaning ‘sorry’. That does not in any manner alter the fact that polling in constituencies where flawed electoral rolls were used were neither free nor fair. There are credible reports of booth-capturing in West Bengal by Trinamool Congress goons and in Uttar Pradesh by Samajwadi Party thugs. The EC has chosen to ignore these gross malpractices for reasons best known to the Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath.

The time has come to challenge the cussedness of the EC. As the custodian of elections in this country, it must be held accountable for its sins of omission and commission – its lapses must be held up to public scrutiny and its biases subjected to pitiless criticism. A beginning could be made by those disenfranchised by the EC filing criminal cases against the Chief Election Commissioner and his colleagues, and ensuring that these are taken to their natural conclusion. Indeed, there exists a fit case for a class action suit. The hollow men of Nirvachan Sadan are not above the law of the land and there is no reason why they should get away unscathed for their abysmal lapses, intended or otherwise.
«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements