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

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A Vulnerable Election Commission

Is the ECI equipped to adequately address insidious forms of voter manipulation?

 

The health and preservation of democratic institutions in the country hinge on the outcome of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission of India (ECI) is faced with the mammoth task of organising “free and fair” elections to save democratic institutions, including itself. The task is complicated because the manipulation of the functioning of some of these institutions has taken on new forms yet to be understood fully, and the ECI is at great risk of becoming helpless and eventually dissolving into partisanship.

In the recent row around the release of the biopic PM Narendra Modi, it seems that the ECI has maintained steadfast indecisiveness. A 10-part web series, “Modi: Journey of a Common Man” is also in the offing. Earlier, in 2014 and 2017, there have been similar instances of propaganda films eulogising Modi. Such films tend to show unqualified reverence towards Modi, but this hagiographic representation also garners support for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), giving both the person and his party an exalted status. What prevents the ECI from taking suo motu cognisance of such gross manipulations? Does the model code of conduct (MCC) devised by the ECI take such voter manipulation seriously? And, if it does, how does it measure such manipulation?

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Updated On : 30th Apr, 2019

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