ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Election and Its Commission

The Election and Its Commission

Overburdened with expectations, the Election Commission often undermines fairness to appear neutral.

Hearing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi and the other BJP leaders thunder against the Election Commission of India, a person unfamiliar with India could be pardoned if she thought that the BJP was being discriminated against and obstructed from conducting a campaign to reach its voters. Some days back, the Commission directed the Gujarat administration to file a first information report with the police against Modi for flouting the election code of conduct for displaying his party’s symbol and giving a political speech through the media outside a polling booth on election day in Ahmedabad. Now, as these words are being written, the Election Commission is under fire for denying him permission for political meetings, including one at the ghats of Varanasi during the time of the famous aartis.

Elections are times when tempers often run high and political parties are wont to attack any move which curtails their campaign. Political parties and candidates have used their influence over the executive to bend rules and openly flout the laws of campaigning. It has been a process of over two decades of the Commission pushing back against the excesses and violations which now has led to some semblance of fair play. Rigging is perceptibly reduced, there is greater protection of the vulnerable voters against influence and threats and there is much less scope for abuse of government power by the incumbent party. These have directly contributed to the rise in participation and the deepening of democratic processes in most parts of the country. It has also, perhaps, led to the Election Commission being overburdened with expectations from the citizenry; expectations that it is unable to meet.

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