EC does it
The RSS has come down heavily on the election commission,calling it a choreographer of elections,rather than a facilitator. Taking a dim view of the ECs decisions,including the lengthy schedule of polling in five states,the order to cover elephant statues and the spat over reservations for minorities,the RSS weekly Organiser has suggested in an editorial that the EC is transgressing into areas where it does not belong,and is micromanaging ideological debates.
It has become the arbitrator,to decide what is secular and what is communal,what is right and wrong. It has drawn the political lines beyond which the parties cannot cross, the Organiser says. Instead of the traditional behind-the-curtain role it used to play,the EC is increasingly coming to dominate the scene,wielding a stick to rap the knuckles of political parties, it adds.
Expressing unhappiness with the decision to hold elections in Uttarakhand when half the state has snowed,and for making Manipur wait nearly 40 days for the result,the Organiser says the EC,in this age of technology and speed,is taking longer to hold elections than the manual process.
The decision to cover statues of elephants at a considerable cost was questionable,it says,and points fingers at Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshis open spat with UP Chief Minister Mayawati,when he said that she should think before she talked. It has also questioned the ban on opinion polls without any broad-based and informed debate on the issue with political parties and the media. Electoral reforms are a serious issue. These are not something that the EC can order and achieve. It should involve the political parties and citizens. One of the first requirements of this is to increase the voting percentage and participation, the editorial says. It says that in most seats today,the winner gets less than 50 per cent of the votes,sometimes as low as 20 per cent,meaning his or her victory is not the decision of the majority of the voters but that he or she is the only first one to go past the post. This system needs to be rectified it says.
An article by Ram Madhav in the Organiser says that the communal violence bill drafted by the UPA government will bring back Jinnahism,the majority-versus-minority scare that Jinnah raked up to create Pakistan. Claiming that the premise of the draft bill that the majority community,the Hindus,are the perpetrators of communal violence and the minorities are always the victims is fundamentally wrong,Madhav contends that what is needed is non-discriminatory and universal laws to tackle communal violence. He says that communal strife arises from the unabashed minority politics of sections of the political establishment. This communal politics with an eye on votebanks have not benefited anybody; certainly not the minority community. They only helped politicians climb up the rungs using the minorities as votebanks. The communities remained poor and backward,illiterate and unemployed,and as a result,easy prey to divisive and terrorist forces, he says.
Money and muscle
The Panchjanya,in its editorial,has highlighted the money and muscle power in elections,after the chief election commissioner observed that elections are the biggest source of corruption.
Saying that this money and muscle power has increased significantly over the years,the Panchjanya says that the EC is helpless and that political parties have not shown any interest in tackling the issue. Today,in Parliament as well as in most legislative assemblies,over a third of the members are either history sheeters or millionaires. When legislators ask questions for money,it only exposes the standards in our Parliament,the editorial says,adding that the involvement of ministers in multi-crore scams has virtually become a political trend.
Clean and well-meaning persons are getting pushed out of the democratic process,as politics is taken over by criminals and the moneyed,it says. Some parties have even been charged with selling party tickets for crores,and the EC has become a silent spectator as political parties competitively induct tainted leaders,says the editorial
Compiled by Swaraj Thapa
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