Sunday, 12 February 2012

Khurshid, Abhisek Shinghvi and a free CEC

Towards the closing days of 2011, when the nation witnessed the fruitless debate on Janlokpal in Parliament, one of the liveliest debates was between Arun Jaitely and Abhisek Singhvi. Without going into the merits of it, I would like to highlight one statement of Abhisek Singhvi from that debate in the present circumstances.

Arun Jaitely pointed out that a Lokpal, whose selection and finance, if kept under the government control, would not be able to function as an independent body. Coutnering this charge, Abhisek Shinghvi pointed out that one of the most important constituotnal bodies, the Election Commission, was directly under the law ministry, yet no one could question its independence and integrity. Largely overlooked that time, today it feels as if Abhisek Singhvi was giving a sarcastic hint of what actually has been done to this institute as well. The process had already started sometimes back.

It's well known today that congress is out to destroy every single aspect of our administrative, cultural, social life and fabric, freedom of expression and all. Be it the CVC, President, Army Chief, CAG, ISRO, CBI, Communal Violence bill, curbing freedom of internet, and most importantly, buying and silencing most of the media houses. CEC stands no exception to it today. The present CEC, MR SY Qureshy hardly elicits any confidence whatsoever, and his actions continue to confirm this fear again and again.

After Mr TN Sheshan, the most fearless action of a fair Election commission was shown in 2002 in Gujrat in the aftermaths of the riots. The EC had set aside the constituonal limit of holding elections within 6 months in a state after the constituent assembly is dissolved. It was a sort of an extra constitutional step, yet was endorsed by SC, and was hailed as a landmark judgment. Can we compare that fearless action with the farce going on at present in the EC?

The process to subvert the EC started with Naveen Chawla. A well known beurocrat with very public congress leanings, his appointment itself in the EC was something which undermined the sense of a free EC. Yet to his credit, Naveen Chawla managed to keep out of any controversy, and did not raise any eyebrows, none that I am aware of. But his successor, Mr SY Querashy has been highly partitoned in his approach since the very beginning. It's the previous prestige of EC which has stopped the people or the political parties to open their mouths against it. But if this continues, sooner or later, people will be forced to speak up in public. Many examples of a partitioned approach come to the mind.

Any poll dates are decided according to the convenience of the state man-power resources available. UP government, to favor itself strategically, had announced board examinations in the march, which are a mammoth exercise in itself. Logistically hence, poll dates should have been put up in April. In Uttarakhanda too, late poll dates would have made sense due to intense cold making polls difficult. Yet, to make the situation convenient for congress, poll dates were scheduled earlier, even if it was a bad decision due to availability of manpower.

During the lokpal movement, Team Anna announced that they would campaign in UP. Instantly, EC announced  it would "keep an eye" on them. This was highly uncalled for and anti-democratic. In a democracy, any group is free to air its views. This was a threat in disguise by the EC against the very fundamentals of our country. People criticized it in hushed voices.

Baba Ramdev has been denied permission at many places to hold meetings in the name of public security and all that nonsense. Uma Bharati has been denied permission for rath-yatra. And here, when the Union law minister slaps the EC in the face in glaring public view, all the EC can do is to "write to the President". Forget EC, the DM of a district is powerful enough to throw someone out of a district for the violation of moral code of conduct. It has been frequently exercised, like siwan MP strongman Shahabuddin was thrown out of Siwan, and the DM got a lot of applause for that.

And today, all the EC is doing in the Salman Khurshid case is a show off of "writing letter" to the President, when all the powers to act against offenders is vested with itself only. Public is not fool enough not to see that this is a blatant match-fixing between EC and the congress. Just as they fixed the match with the VP during the lokpal debate. It is time to call the bluff of the EC, and save the fast dying dignity of all of our constitutional bodies. Honesty and integrity cannot be cloaked just by the label of EC of India. It can't be allowed to use its past prestige to cover its present blatant wrongdoings.

The recent happenings pinch a big hole in the arguments of Singhvi, and call for an independent Lokpal and CBI.  Remember, the public does not have unlimited amount of patience. Act before that patience runs out !

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