Fair and safe: On five State elections amid COVID-19 surge

The ECI must ensure a fair election process that also limits public health risks

Going by the spree of inaugurations and groundbreaking ceremonies for government projects by the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and Ministers, the election season has already begun. On January 2, the Prime Minister laid the foundation for the Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Meerut, with a large, mostly mask-less crowd in attendance. Huge gatherings organised by all parties are taking place in the poll-bound States. Official events are being turned into campaign opportunities by those in power, raising a different question of propriety. The MCC imposes special restrictions on the party in power, which, it says, “shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign”. Till the announcement of polls, however, it is only a question of decency and propriety of those in power. The lines between a political party’s rally and a government function continue to blur, to the advantage of the BJP in most cases. Once the poll schedule is announced, the burden will be on the ECI to be fair, and seen to be fair. In the last round of elections, its conduct was questioned on various valid grounds. The ECI must take political parties into confidence and ensure an environment conducive to a fair election process that also limits public health risks.

Source: Read Full Article