OPINION
Election Commission - You Failed to Convince. Try Again.
- By Punjab Today Editorial Board
Election Commission - You Failed to Convince. Try Again.



Most Indian newspapers, including almost all English language newspapers, today carry a story that starts something like this: "Here is why EC did not announce dates for Gujarat assembly elections." All these news reports have dutifully reported the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) A K Jyoti's reasoning that the delay was because the Election Commission was worried about the state's welfare.

 

Jyoti said "there is no justification to have a prolonged period of the imposition of model code of conduct as it could hamper development work," and quoted a 2001 precedent when the law ministry and the EC had reached an understanding not to allow a gap of more than 21 days between the announcement of polls and date of notification for elections.

 

Clearly, it is Jyoti's case that the delay was not to accrue any undue benefit to the BJP, as was being alleged by the opposition.

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Clearly, the CEC's explanation fell far short of being convincing, as the accompanying Punjab Today story shows. The EC must understand that it has become a key conduit for ensuring peaceful democratic transition.

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Just a day before Jyoti fell back on the 2001 precedent, saner voices had cautioned the EC to clear the air since its reputation was at stake.

 

The Indian Express, in its editorial a day before (on October 14), had pointed out this breaking of "established convention" and said the EC, "in making a routine decision appear controversial...does itself injustice."

 

"For the EC now to lay itself open to questions about the Gujarat poll delay...is enormously troubling for its several admirers...The EC must answer the questions raised by its decision not to announce the Gujarat polls alongwith Himachal’s more convincingly than it has done so far — because it has a very fine reputation to protect," it had said.

 

Clearly, the CEC's explanation fell far short of being convincing, as the accompanying Punjab Today story shows. The EC must understand that it has become a key conduit for ensuring peaceful democratic transition. Unlike its Pakistani counterpart, the Election Commission of Pakistan, which is now going about ordering the arrest of the country's top opposition leader on grounds of contempt, we can still question India's Election Commission. Unless it wants to break yet another tradition.

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Read related story 

This is why Election Commission did not announce Gujarat poll dates

 

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Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

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