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Care for Indians or just the votes ?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on May 25, 2021 with No Comments

The Madras High Court has strongly pulled up the Election Commission of India for allowing political rallies even as the country is battling a deadly second wave of COVID-19. Madras HIgh Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee reprimanded the Election Commission up for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms were followed during rallies, remarking that Election Commission is “singularly responsible” for the second wave of COVID-19. 

The High Court reminded the Election Commission that public health is paramount and it was  distressing that the constitutional authorities had to be reminded in such regard. “It is only when a citizen survives that he’ll be able to enjoy the rights that a democratic republic guarantees,” Chief Justice Banerjee told the Election Commission.

Tamil Nadu is one of the states that went to polls on April 6 this year. The High Court also warned that it will stop counting on May 2, which is when the results are to be declared for elections in five states and one Union Territory, if the Election Commission does not put in place a proper plan to ensure COVID-19 norms are followed. “The situation now is of survival and protection. Everything else comes next,” the Chief Justice said.

Questions have been raised about the conduct of the Election Commission in the management and administration of the election process in the recent round of Assembly elections in various states. It’s not the first time, that the creditability of the Election Commission has been questioned. Election Commission of India is entirely responsible to conduct the elections that are free, fair and impartial.  Even since Narendra Modi’s government took charge in 2014, the Election Commission has earned a reputation that it is generous towards the ruling party at the Centre and its leaders.  There are allegations against the it has distinctive criterions to judge actions of parties and the complaints addressed to it.  There have been instances in West Bengal and the other states in which elections are underway where the acts of commission or omission on the part of the EC have attracted criticism. 

An electronic voting machine (EVM) was found in the car of a BJP candidate in Assam. Some officials were suspended but the incident raises questions on the working of the Election Commission., and  strengthens the doubts many still have about the reliability of EVMs. Also, why such an incidence would involve the Candidate of a the ruling party at Centre that is trying hard to get hold of the assembly at Assam ? The election commission would have got some respite by suspending the candidate.  But it was not to be.  

The heavy deployment of central forces in West Bengal is also seen as giving an advantage to the BJP.  BJP has a special interest in the state, as it has never been able to form a government there.

The parties went all out for campaigning  with caring two hoots for the covid protocols.  Uncountable participants at the rallies, no masks, no social distancing!  And leading the charge were none other than the leaders of the parties at Centre and the states. The election commission turned a blind eye.

The situation in India is now known to the world all over. For being able to contain till the pandemic till mid march to now going spirally out of control. Indians are left wondering did those election rallies  turn out to be super spreader.  Perhaps yes !

Madras High Court has taken a strong note. India is facing an unprecedented medial emergency and if only the Election Commission had acted tough from the very beginning of the election process and the leaders had cared for the Indians first than the votes.

 

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