Millennium Post

EC’s temptation for voters

The news that the Election Commission is willing to serve coffee to attract young voters as well as to allow the use of voter ID cards for purposes of availing discounts at the sales counters of shops is preposterous. It is simply not the job of the Election Commision to promote sales, either of coffee or of goods at shops. It should not get involved in transactions involving commodities or the sales of goods. The Election Commision has been entrusted with the job of organisng elections fairly in India. This in itself is a huge task. It involves the mobilisation of lakhs of people as also enormous logistics. The election commission should concentrate on its core functions. It is not a trading organisation nor is it a corporate. It is an organisation that has been goven a limited mandate. It should not exceed this. The job of attracting voters is not that of the Election Commission but of political parties which are expected to compete for the favour of the votes. Each has a different manifesto and has to attract voters with it. Moverover, it is surprising that the Election Commission is proposing to do what it itself does not allow political parties to do. If any political party was to distribute goodies in this manner to attract votes or voters would it not be seen as an electoral malpractice?

The Election Commission is an organisation that is expected to be above party politics. All these commercial transactions are, in fact, deeply bound with contemporary politics. These are issues relating to the sales of goods about which the various political parties have differences of opinion, such as retail. These should be allowed to be thrashed out in the political area. The Election Commission is neither meant to be an outreach office of any politcal party nor is it the sales office of any commercial firm. In fact, it is not a good idea to involve the Election Commission in commercial transactions of any type because  it opens it up not just to all manner of outside influences but also to the possibility of corruption, opening it up to various avenues for this. The Election Commission, in the past, has done good work in preserving the sanctity of elections in India. It should continue to do so without fear or favour. Its act of distributing largess to the people may be seen by some political parties as an attempt to swing the elections in the favour of other political parties. This should not be the case. There have already been accusations made by some politcal parties that the Election Commission is being partisan in some matters. Whether this is the case will be proved in time.
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