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The Election Commission should not be a tool of the government

election commmission

It is none other the Election Commission of India (ECI) that should be determined that the 18th Lok Sabha general election should be held in a free and fair manner. In the background where rumors and fears abound about the upcoming general elections, if the commission's activities turn opaque and bureaucratic that would reinforce the perception that the democratic instruments of the county are being subverted. Therefore, the commission needs to be willing to take the criticisms raised by the opposition in the past few days at face vale and make its activities transparent and independent. The commission is not able to give a reasonable answer to the question whose interest will be protected by making the coming general election a complicated process lasting 44 days. Elections took longer than this only during 1951-52, marred by the teething problems, the complexities created by migration and the communal conflicts. Is the current decision aimed to obliquely hint that the country still has a social situation similar to even in this era with modern technologies and facilities? And the decision to hold election in the Lok Sabha constituency in Manipur over two stages, and holding it in Jammu & Kashmir in seven stages because the government has failed to reining the conflicts there and in winning the confidence of the people? However, this time, such a long election process was decided as a result of consultations with solely with the central government only.

The opposition parties strongly criticize that the stages of the polls were decided in a manner that suited the BJP's election tactics. It is validated by the inclusion of the Varanasi constituency in the last stage considering the Prime Minister's election journeys. And the Election Commission does not seem to know that the Prime Minister and the Home Minister are continuing to violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and misusing the central government's funds. The Prime Minister sends letters to voters praising government schemes and asking them to vote for it even after the election notification was issued, misuses Air Force aircraft for campaigning, fields children in election campaigns, and uses military uniforms and national flags in advertisements. The Commission is not yet ready to take action on complaints against such flagrant violations. And Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar also refused to give a clear answer to the question about the steps taken in their past code of conduct violations. If the commission becomes a platform to implement the will of the government, that would be the death knell of democracy. It is probably in recognition of this situation that former Chief Election Commissioner, SY Qureshi lamented the other day that that the image of the Election Commission has suffered a major fall over the last ten years. In the matter of appointment of Election Commissioners, the Supreme Court verdict of March 2023 had conceived that the Commission should be body independent of and keeping a distance from the executive.

In the Constitution Bench judgment of March 2023 on the appointment of the Election Commission, it was envisioned that the Election Commission should become an independent and distant system from the executive. However, with the parliament passing a law, it was reduced to an appointment by the ruling party. The new change in the method of appointment of commissioners is against the concept of transparency and independent democracy. And the biased actions of the current Election Commission are destroying the credibility of that institution day by day. If the ECI is not able to recover the image it has lost, it would be strengthening the allegation that the Commission has become an instrument for the government to come back to power. The situation in which the guards of democracy themselves occupy the key positions of its annihilation would bode ill for citizens' rights. A predicament in which the guardians of democracy are the keys to its destruction is not at all promising for civil liberties. Therefore, if the election system in the country is to be transparent and fair, the Election Commission needs to be made independent. Unfortunately, the misfortune s that , by the time the Supreme Court reaches a judgement on this subject that has been awaiting its hearing, the most crucial election in the country will be over.

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TAGS:Election Commission of IndiaEditorialLok Sabha Elections 2024Independence of ECI
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