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The actions of ECI- Free, Fair, Unfair?
What appear like violations of the R.P. Act and the Model Code of Conduct seem permitted by ECI. While some violations are punishable with imprisonment, ECI is known to avoid taking the drastic step
What appear like violations of the R.P. Act and the Model Code of Conduct seem permitted by the ECI. While some violations are punishable with imprisonment, the ECI is known to avoid taking the drastic step. But is it time for it to change the code and crack the whip is the question.
The Commission needs to act to restore people’s faith in its impartiality and in free and fair elections. Here are a few more instances during this month’s campaigning and polling, that raise uncomfortable questions:
“Information is that Adani is directly favouring the BJP in UP by allowing it to distribute free 1 litre of its Fortune cooking oil along with the free food being distributed by the central govt. Who says elections are not free and fair?” tweeted former union minister Yashwant Sinha.
Rakesh Tikait, farmers’ leader, in every meeting warns that counting of votes in favour of BJP candidates would start with 15,000 votes.
In a video clip shared widely on social media, BJP MLA Raghvendra Pratap Singh is heard saying, “If you make me MLA again, they (Muslims) will stop wearing skullcaps and start putting tilak.”
Samajwadi Party formally complained that policemen on duty have been ordered to cast their postal ballots in favour of the BJP and their Aadhaar numbers were collected by the authorities.
Questions have been raised on low polling despite the Election Commission appointing ambassadors, engaging NGOs, releasing advertisements and social media campaigns
A large number of voters complained that though they reached polling booths with Voter ID cards and Aadhaar, they were told their names were missing in the electoral rolls.
A video surfaced in which a young man is heard complaining that while the electoral roll had the name of his father, who passed away 12 years ago, his name was missing.
TV channels, YouTube channels and social media continued to air opinion polls showing voting trends and number of seats likely to be won by parties—and presenting psephologists on talk shows.
Notices served by the Election Commission on hate speech, communal speech, threats on video (a Telangana BJP MLA threatening that if people wanted to reside in UP, they would have to vote for Yogi or else bulldozers were ready), fake videos, morphed images used by political parties, sting operations and fake news seem totally ineffective.
Complaints from both Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh supported by video evidence of BJP leaders distributing cash were made formally and on social media. But the EC remained unmoved.
A complaint that on February 12, two days before polling in Kannauj, free smart phones were distributed to students of a degree college were ignored.
(Compiled by Mini Bandopadhyay, K. Santosh and Rajkumar Upadhyay)
(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday.)