Thursday, February 24, 2005

Election Commission!

When India's first elections were held in 1952, they were spread over several weeks. The English still joke about millions of totally illiterate Indians indulging in a funny exercise with most of them not understanding what was going on. After 53 years one would expect things will be better. But alas, the situation is so bad that even we can joke about the elections now. We all know how crooked our democracy is (the talk of largest democracy notwithstanding). But what about our election commission. The present set of election commissioners are in my opinion, the most incompetent we have had in recent times. (Shame that two of them are Tamils) Remember the 2004 elections which were held over a month, longest since the first few elections I guess. (are we still in 1952 ?) Most western democracies conduct elections in a day and declare the results the same night. To add to that, 2004 elections saw large scale violence and complaints. (Ex: the election was countermanded in Chapra and few other constituencies b'cos of sub standard conduct). It has become a miracle to find one's name on the electoral roles in Tamilnadu. Recently EC played a guffaw by preponing counting to the Haryana election (held on 3rd Feb) from 27 to 24th feb. This was shot down the by Supreme Court. But why the hell was elections in Haryana held on the 3rd if it can only be counted after the third round of polling in Bihar and Jharkand. These spread out elections means the menace of exit polls being published in between polling days. This certainly is not the right way to conduct elections. But to be fair, election commissioners have always been sub-standard officials. Only after T N Seshan did they hog the limelight. Now we have come a full circle. Also disturbing is the trend of election commissioners joining political parties. T N Seshan and M S Gill joined congress after retirement. How impartial could they have been in office ?
Not to mention J M Lyngdoh. If somebody can prove he was Impartial, then I am going to become an Atheist! Has the present CEC Krishnamurthy stared to lick the required boots in Congress for his post retirement benefits? I admit, I may be harsh on EC. But EC is now much more powerful than it used to be. If it were to be a complete authority over elections, then election commissioners must be of good caliber and must be impartial. Why don't political parties agree not to take election commissioners into their ranks on retirement to start with. How about all parties boycotting Exit poll shows done in between polling days. Or am I asking too much ?

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