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Rallies And Speeches Made During Elections

The recent order by the Honourable Supreme Court reminding only now about the Election Commission of India’s (EC) of its true and real powers to exercise is astonishing. The move comes at a time when ECI has revealed to SC that it remained a mere paper tiger and a toothless snake. All the legal communication with the SC is only happening at the eleventh hours during the time of elections, in due course ECI is only losing it attention required to conduct free and fair elections and ensure strict compliance to Model Code of Conduct. The vehement speeches made by political stakeholders notwithstanding, ECI should have acted more strictly in an unbiased manner instead of sending mere notices related to the Model Code of Conduct breaches. But it is yet ironical that ECI has looked up to SC to let it itself know about its limitations of mere sending notices and letting off MCC breaches by warnings. How else can a common man and voter be not be perturbed by the speeches made during the rallies and at the same time remain a mute spectator when ECI itself  deposes to SC as a toothless authority? Article 324 is widely debated since inception of Election Commission and perhaps  ECI can only quote and emphasize it powers and yet remains as a no authority to take punitive action against breaches.  It is thus high time now that the ECI be made more powerful. Further the three-member panel should be empowered to take up the cause of a common voter.

Varun Dambal  Bangalore


Anti-Terror, Nationalistic Narrative In This Election Campaign

My heartbeat almost stopped to read that Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, a sadhvi and not an ordinary mortal, who supposed to have control on their senses and feelings have boasted that 26/11 Ashok Chakra awardee Hemant Karkare died because I told him `tera sarvanash hoga’ (you will be destroyed). My curse hit him and the day he was killed by terrorists my curse ended.” She had added: “He died of his karma. He died because of a `sanyasin’s’ curse.” It’s more painful that she was flanked by BJP leaders who are seen applauding comments that seem incongruous to their party’s anti-terror and nationalistic narrative in this election campaign. It’s reminds me then Dy PM cum home minister Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel’s letters to RSS alleged that how its cadre distributed sweets after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination  Though Pragya Thakur, who uses the honorific “sadhvi”, apologised through an aide “if her statement had hurt anyone” and withdrew her statement. Pragya, out on bail in the terror case on health grounds, joined the BJP four days ago and was immediately named as the party’s candidate from Bhopal for the election. But people are unable to digest the way PM Narendra Modi’s referring to the Samjhauta Express verdict, and claimed the Congress had defamed a “5,000-old culture that believes in Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam”. “They called them terrorists. To answer them all, this is a symbol [fielding Thakur] and it will cost the Congress,” Modi said.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee Faridabad


‘Exercising’ Adult Franchise

As the Election Day draws near the realisation that he is once again on the verge of casting his precious vote for candidates pre-determined by various political dispensations blatantly exposes the common man’s folly. As the world’s largest electoral wonder, it is however a pity that till the very last minute, undecided on their choice of candidates, people are known to cast their votes just for the sake of exercising their adult franchise. For that matter, except for Delhites in recent times, the rest of the country has come a cropper when it comes to springing a surprise on the established political class by electing rank outsiders to power. However, the ‘broom miracle’ failed to reflect in good governance and Delhi is today ruing its moment of electoral ‘insanity’. It is indeed a paradigm of ironies that where tyrannical regimes were put down by mass uprisings bringing along with it a new dawn of hope for the people; when it comes to governments of the people, by the people and for the people, the masses themselves have been conspicuous by their reluctance to actively partake in the country’s electoral process to decide on their representatives. The modern fad that has people cursing the dearth of good candidates contesting elections and deciding on the novelties that the NOTA option provides may well complicate matters further as it is ‘stipulated’ that a certain proportion of NOTA votes polled in any booth will necessitate a re-election there. The expenses incurred apart, the colossal wastage of time in putting the process into operation all over again is too tedious. Moreover, the importance attached to election dates can be gauged by the holiday mood prevalent among people during that period. The ‘percentage turnout’ for voting that is so meticulously reported by the press and media after the polls may hardly serve any purpose other than adding to the statistical records of the Election Commission, but is definitely a true indicator of the public callousness towards the entire process of voting to elect a government. By playing truant on Election Day, a citizen loses the moral right to criticize the government for its shortcomings. citizens should shun their flippant attitude towards casting their precious votes.

Pachu Menon Margao

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