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The Election Commission caught in its own trap

The Election Commission caught in its own trap

A social media campaign is currently gaining momentum under the hashtag #GrowASpineOrResign. This campaign is directed at the Election Commission. Countless people have written letters to the commission and are sharing pictures of these letters online. Never before has there been such a stark divide between the Election Commission on one side and a large section of the population on the other. It is unfortunate that this is not just a smear campaign engineered by some informers overnight. This is not a call for the commission to favor any particular party. either. Instead, it is a demand that the Commission fulfill its constitutional responsibility to conduct free and fair elections with courage and integrity. Various political parties have been consistently requesting the commission to be impartial and fair in its conduct from the very beginning of the election. This is based on genuine concerns. The fact that the commission was appointed by a committee with a two-thirds majority in the Union government should have made the commission even more careful to prove its credibility. However, the commission has been acting in a non-transparent manner from the very beginning. Why did a commissioner resign in mysterious circumstances? Why were the voting phases scheduled in such a long and complex manner? Why did the Commission, which had been in communication with the Union government on this matter, fail to take the opposition parties and states into confidence?

It has been observed that the Commission has not taken any action against ruling party leaders, including the Prime Minister, for repeatedly violating the model code of conduct. However, this Commission has reacted strongly to the open letter written by the Opposition Congress President Kharge to INDIA allies. as highlighted by Kharge. He says, the Commission, which ignores the complaints directly given by various parties, is replying to the letter sent by him to other parties; the Commission, which says that citizens have the right to raise questions, is itself warning to speak cautiously. Should the Commission shirk its responsibility by saying that there is no law when asked to publish the official vote count within 48 hours of polling? Now, various media organizations have come together and written a letter to the Commission - vote count should be published after each stage of polling; The Commission should talk to the media.

Instead of reacting negatively to criticism, the Commission should correct itself, win the trust of political parties, speak openly to the media, and recognize that the people are the masters. During his tenure, former Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan's transparency was a major factor in his effectiveness. He not only declared that he was not subservient to the Union government but also proved it. However, the current Commission remains inactive when the Prime Minister and Home Minister, among others, break the law. The Prime Minister has made hate speeches that even lower grade-rate politicians would not dare to make, such as saying that if the Congress comes to power, it will seize the land and property of the people and give it to the Muslims; that Muslims are invaders and breed more children; that the Congress has the support of Pakistan; and that there will be a vote jihad. This is the first time that communalism and divisiveness have been given so much freedom and permission in an election, making a mockery of the process. There have also been complaints that in many places, communalists have caused trouble for voters through threats and obstructions. Political parties have submitted numerous complaints to the Election Commission, but the Commission has failed to bring about any effective change. This is because the law is not applied equally to everyone.

There are numerous instances of the Prime Minister violating laws, ranging from criminal law to the election code of conduct. Many individuals, including constitutional experts, legal scholars, and lawyers, have written to the Election Commission, both directly and indirectly, highlighting these violations. One of the first points in the code of conduct issued by the Commission states that nothing should be done that could create spite between different sections. Advocate Dushyant Dave points out that the Supreme Court has ruled that attempts to influence by preaching religion are corrupt practices in elections. In addition to such rulings in 1996, the Supreme Court further stated in 2017 that such propaganda is an offense that could invalidate the election results. Advocate Kalishwaram Raj notes that not only is it an electoral offensc under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, but it is also an offense under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code. Raising caste and religious allegations is an offense under Section 153B. Narendra Modi's false allegations against the Congress manifesto are also punishable. The Election Commission has no power to pretend that there are no offenses that should be prosecuted according to law. Be it the ruling party or the opposition, they have to abide by the law. It is lack of diligence in this matter that has brought the Commission to its present state.

Also Read:Opposition raises concerns over delay in voter turnout data release by ECI

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TAGS:Election Commission of IndiaModel Code of ConductPrime Minister Narendra ModiLok Sabha Elections 2024GrowASpineOrResign
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