ECI under scanner

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/9/2018 12:51:54 PM IST

 When political fortunes are at stake, the fight or spat gets meaner and even dirtier and as the constitutional body that is wholly responsible for scheduling, announcing, enforcing and conducting elections, the Election Commission of India has often been at the centre of storms. The latest missile at the ECI came from the Congress which seriously questioned the motive behind the rescheduling of the EC press conference on October 6 from the original time of 12.30 p.m. to 3 p.m. This led the Congress to raise questions on the independence of the Election Commission for abruptly rescheduling the time of the press conference that was meant to announce dates for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram. The Congress blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for applying pressure on the ECI to delay poll date announcement. According to the Congress, the obvious reason was to provide the crucial time to both Prime Minister and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to offer “political bribe” to the voters in the state. Whether Modi had pressurized the ECI cannot be confirmed but what is a fact is that the EC had rescheduled the press conference from 12.30 pm to 3 p.m. Just before the 3 p.m. schedule, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally in Ajmer. In that rally the Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced poll sops for the farmers. The rally in Ajmer was important for the BJP which hold seven out of the eight assembly seats but in the recent Lok Sabha bypoll, the Congress wrested the seat by defeating from BJP’s Ramswaroop Lamba who is the son of former Ajmer lawmaker Sanwar Lal Jat. The model code of conduct comes into effect the moment the Election Commission of India announces the poll dates, barring the government from announcing any new scheme or project. Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat rubbished the allegation saying the all politicians were “political creatures” who see politics in everything. It may also be recalled that in the assembly elections early February this year, the ECI under then CEC A.K. Joti, had delayed announcement of poll dates in October for Gujarat while announcing the schedules for the other states. This had raised howls of protests from the opposition because it gave the Prime Minister Narendra Modi amply opportunity to announce sops to the state. On the other hand, records also show that the EC exempted all flood relief work in J&K from Model Code and didn’t delay polls. Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi had said Joti’s decision to not announce the dates for Gujarat Assembly polls even as it announced the dates for Himachal Pradesh elections, created a “ground of suspicion.” It is a matter of deep concern that politicians have often made targeted the ECI in their fights since this only damage the credibility of the institution. It is mainly to the credit of several past CECs that the ECI has managed to keep its image free from controversies. However, when indeed controversial decisions are alleged, the ECI should be open to scrutiny. In the case with rescheduling of the press conference for Rajasthan polls on October 6, the ECI owes an explanation to the people of the country and if, at all, the decision was not under pressure, it should nullify the sops announced by the chief minister during the Ajmer rally that day. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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