The Election Commission has come in for some stringent criticism from several papers.
Munsif’s editorial on April 27, ‘Need an impartial EC,’ notes that “it is sad to report that in this election, the EC’s conduct has ‘been very weak’. Leaders are flagrantly violating the code and all that the EC has done is to call for details. After the EC ticked off leaders like Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath, we realised that the agency does exist”. The paper argues that in cases pertaining to major statements, the EC has had a limited response. “The view is gaining currency that it is working under the government like a department and it has no powers,” Munsif alleges
Inquilab’s editorial on the same day, ‘EC ki saakh,’ points out that “the criticisms levelled against this EC are unprecedented. It is because of such criticisms that some moves have been made to temporarily stall the campaign of a few leaders.” The paper alleges that the PM has not been reprimanded for his Latur statement in which he asked first time voters to dedicate their vote to Pulwama martyrs. “It is clear,” the paper goes onto say, “that the PM, along with other leaders, is involved in violating the code of conduct, and he must be held to a higher standard”. The paper raises a few questions: Does this mean there is a different barometer for the PM as compared to other leaders? Why is the EC doing this? Is it under some pressure?
Another editorial in Iquilab on May 3 contends that more than the elections, the EC’s conduct is under scrutiny.
Etemad, the AIMIM’s mouthpiece, asks in an editorial on April 29, that if the Supreme Court can set up an administrator for the BCCI and cricket and for the disputed land in Ayodhya, why not have a Court-directed administrator to ensure that the EC acts appropriately? The paper says it is a cause for concern if this autonomous institution, mandated to ensure free and fair elections, is being accused of partisanship.
Masood Azhar’s fall
Munsif, on May 3, describes Masood Azhar being designated a global terrorist as a “symbolic victory”. The paper contends that the UN Security Council’s decision may “get a few more votes for a worried BJP, but it is unlikely to deter terror in Jammu and Kashmir”. The paper says that Modi and the “government-serving” media is trying to project the UNSC decision as a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s great leadership. The paper says, “that the BJP should be reminded that it was a government led by the party which released Masood Azhar and escorted him to safety. Why did that BJP government release Azhar? If the BJP government hadn’t released him, we would not have had the attack on Parliament, or Uri, Pathankot or Pulwama. The party tom-tomming the recent success should be asked such questions because our forces have had to suffer for its actions.”
Etemad on May 3 says, “India has secured a diplomatic victory in Masood Azhar being named in UN’s list of global terrorists. After the terror attack in Pulwama, India had stepped up its efforts towards this end. Founder of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Azhar has been called out for being close to al Qaeda. But there is no reference to Pulwama in the UN list, while al Qaeda, Daesh and other extremist groups are mentioned.”
The current political events and the acerbic discourse in the current elections is a subject of editorials.
Inquilab on May 6 has an editorial, ‘Bhrashtachari zubaan’ (corrupt tongue). The editorial makes a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi controversially terming Rajiv Gandhi as a “bhrashtachari”. It writes that while election results will come on May 23, May 21 is the death anniversary of the former prime minister. The paper notes that “while attacks on political rivals are natural, there should be standards and limits. It does not behoove the person occupying the PM’s seat to refer to the father of the head of the rival party in such terms.” The paper says that, “We need to end corruption, but before that we must end the politics of falsehood and deception”. There must be a way to ensure that people who lie to the people are punished. That’s how we will have “transparent elections and people will not be able to make false promises to the people”.
Sahara on April 29 adopts a philosophical tone and raises a few questions in an editorial titled; ‘Which stage of history are we at?’ “How many more funerals of ethics will we attend?” “What would be the end result of this open warfare against Muslims and minorities?” It goes on to ask if the Republic “will survive after May 23? What of our Constitution? What will be our responsibility? A certain political party has made it clear that for a Hindu Rashtra, violence and extremism is valid.” The editorial ends by asking people to speak out. —Compiled by Seema Chishti