ELECTION PRACTICES REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA
The political parties have learnt the tricks of the trade, to have their own way, while also following the norms, rules and at times diktats of the Election Commission of India, which has power of superintendence, direction and control of elections. The watershed moment of the TN Seshan has long receded into the background. The electoral equilibrium has fallen into place and nobody has much to control but for decisions not going in favor of one party or the other. Any further efforts bringing further sanity into the electoral system either through law or practice has not seen the light of the day for quite some time. The lack of it, speaks of the failing health of the democratic system, of which the elections are the fulcrum.
In what multifarious ways, it impacts our life even beyond our imagination. In elections converges every single democratic activity and all actions emanate out of the desire to win elections. What is the purpose of spending thousands of crores in advertisements by different governments, and that too outside of their jurisdictions? Today every government has become a national government for the purpose of ads. Have the government projects, benefits and services become Hindustan Unilever type products? Why does it happen and who would control this? Or each of the political CEOs have the power to unleash media blitzkrieg on us, for no fault of ours? The Election Commission of India interfaces with democracy of electoral politics from the announcement of elections, model code of conduct, conduct of elections and declaration of results.
Is this enough to cleanse or regulate the backend and machinations of electoral politics. There are mega Diwali bumpers just before the elections are announced. The transfers and postings of officers are also adjusted accordingly. What is required is an all comprehensive constitutional body named Election Practices Regulatory Authority of India. It should have quasi-judicial powers enough to deliver the rationale for its creation. Advertisements are one example. Another being all great announcements and funds being doled out just on the verge of elections. What is the time a political executive can dedicate to elections? Today, there is nothing that is not allowed, a political executive can gleefully leave his executive job and keep doing political activities and politicking. Can a CM of one state keep campaigning all across the country to the detriment of the state?
Can the whole of the central government descend in a state leaving all work of the government and governance in a disarray? During elections broadly, no governance work is done, what is the rationale, can something better not be worked out by Election Practices Regulatory Authority of India. The crux of elections are promises and the document which brings it in the public domain is the Election Manifesto. The ECI has nothing to do with it. Now laws make it implementable. Is this not a mockery of elections? Should this body at least not proscribe the imaginary, undoable, financially and logistically unachievable components of the Election Manifestos of all political parties. How much more ignominy will the citizens have to suffer? Then the whole gamut of populist measures, aiming at votes in the cheap manner, crippling both the population and democracy. The overarching dominance of the party in power in general governance to near exclusivity of all others is not the democratic principle on which governments are created or are intended to serve.
A GOVERNMENT IS NOT A PARTY AND ALL POLITICAL PARTIES IN POWER COMBINED TOGETHER DOES NOT ADD TO A DEMOCRACY.