Sunday, January 22, 2012

EC being unfair to BSP by Covering of Elephants

The recent instructions of the Election Commission (EC) at the behest of some interested party, to cover the stone sculptured elephants erected in Uttar Pradesh, as well as the statues of Mayavati, do not really stand the test of logic. To state that they would benefit a particular party during the forthcoming assembly elections also defies justification. This is being aimed mainly to put the ruling BSP to a disadvantage for the elections, which is also very unjust and unfair. I wonder whether the live elephants which are moving around in various election bound states are also being covered or debarred from moving around in the election arena. For implementing the act of covering, a good amount of Indian citizens’ hard earned money is being spent in the form of cloth, tying material and labour for doing so. The duty of the EC is to be equally fair to all the political parties vying for assembly seats in all the states, where the elections are being held.

On the analogy adopted by the EC in Uttar Pradesh for covering the BSP election symbol, it should not hesitate to arrange covering of the symbols and life sized hoardings of other political parties in the fray for elections. For example the EC should either cover the symbol of Congress Party ie hand by covering with plastic all the hands of people moving around in public, since even the slightest of raising of a hand or any gesture made by hand, by any person would mean that he/she is favouring the congress party which would certainly place the congress party at an advantage over other parties. If this is practically not possible then under these circumstances the EC should replace this symbol by any other one, which the party may decide to choose.

Similarly, cycle which is Samajwadi Party’s symbol, should not be allowed to ply on the roads, in the affected states, till the elections are over. Obviously any one carrying or riding a cycle would be presumed to be unduly favouring the Samajwadi Party. The list is very long and the EC would be spending sleepless nights covering or blocking all these symbols. It will have to cover the Lotus flower, the Hurricane lamp, the Plough, the Time Piece, bow and arrow and many more to treat each and every party at even par. Here the ingenuity adopted by the EC staff would turn out to be quite handy. Obviously, it is not practically possible. Along with that, the large and over life sized statues of all the leaders erected at various places in the election bound states should also be covered so that their parties do not enjoy undue advantages in the elections. Why should also, all the gigantic hoardings of current political leaders of all political parties not be removed from where ever they have been erected, or covered or painted with black colour as convenient. The never ending race to erect such hoardings would certainly place them at a definite advantage for the elections.

From the above it appears that the rat race for such publicity, claims and counter claims for advantage to one party and disadvantage to the other, would never end in the Indian political scenario. Incidentally, as has come to notice in the recent media disclosures that cash/money power would be exploited and misused in big ways by all parties in the forthcoming assembly elections. Thus a dire necessity for the EC and their staff to keep their eyes and ears open, would be of utmost importance. Under the circumstances, what preventive measures the EC should evolve to ensure free and fair elections is not only a big challenge, but also an acid test for their alertness, vigilance and ingenuity. The EC must also avoid illogical actions to put some parties at a definite disadvantage.

EC must also ensure that the ruling parties with their natural strong hold over the government and administrative machinery, as also the inbuilt money power, do not enjoy undue advantage over the other parties.

By Col LK Anand (Retd)

Published in Free Press Indore (Weekend – Edutainment on Sunday 22 January 2012

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