DailyPost 2787

Everything is fair in love, war and politics is an old adage. If elections are the epitome of politics, how can it then be a normal event? At the end of the day one elector goes and casts his vote at a polling booth to decide the fate of candidates in the fray, adding up to the winning political party, formation of governments etc, which follows. Whatever might be the democratic checks and balances, it is a free for all. It ranges from announcement of the elections, model code of conduct, electioneering, casting of votes, counting and the process till the formation of government.

India is a robust democracy, running successfully in its eighth decade, and has the experience of a large number of elections of all types behind it. We have an election commission at the apex, which has been teaching conduct of elections, even in other countries, supposedly based on the huge expertise it has, cannot conduct a one-day nationwide election, does not speak very highly of the democratic journey we have traversed so far. The number of phases of elections are calculated broadly on one single parameter. It is also a fact that the whole of the state machinery / administration is placed at the disposal of the Election Commission for the conduct of elections.

The most ironic part of our elections is the fact that political parties have no responsibilities. It is the state which has to enforce everything and the political parties keep finding ways and means to make it an exercise that works in their favour. In a way potential law makers are pitched against the state. If all rules, model code of conduct and all concerned laws of land were to be put in operation both in word and spirit, probably the elections could never be held. At its very best, we can call it “somehow regulated democratic chaos;” some orderly face-saving acts are put up for the semblance of it. What parameter decides the number of phases and its nature?

The availability and the logistics behind movement of para-military forces decides it all. A democratic election conducted primarily on the strength of the para-military forces. The booths are divided on the basis of sensitivity even in normal peaceful areas across the country, basing on its election racketeering history. The nature of political parties in its various manifestations decides it all. On the announcement of elections, the ECI takes over the administration and does cleansing acts, even to the level of the top brass. The constituencies have regular checking, the guns are deposited for safe custody, efforts made to execute non-bailable warrants, preventive arrests and what not. Election violence, reign of terror, various methods of obstructionism and luring during election is another facet.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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