The Election Commission of India is today behaving �bipolar� with two extremities. The EVMs for the general voters and the Ballot Paper for the service voters, says SANDESH PRABHUDESAI.
The Election Commission of India has done a marvellous job this time, especially in Goa, for the Assembly election. The first and foremost is the cleaning up of the electoral roll and then the aggressive awareness campaign to vote. The result was visible. The record voting of 83%.
And also worth appreciating is the advanced technology and Information Technology used to try and make the election as transparent as possible. May it be the VVPAT for the voters to verify their votes or the live webcasting from each and every polling booth.
Kudos to the election officials and the young minds who worked very hard to make it the ‘e-election’.
But, unfortunately, the same election officials are being deprived of this technological advancement, when it comes to their own voting. After managing the Electronic Voting Machines successfully from 7 am to 5 pm, they go and pull out a ballot paper to vote. What a shame!
The normal time-frame for the postal ballot of these service voters is till 8 am on the day of counting. Because Goa election was this time held in the first phase of elections of five states held together, Goa’s service voters will get 35 days to vote.
Let’s consider that the allegations made by the opposition parties about coercing, pressurising or intimidating the service voters (government servants) by the ruling party are totally false and baseless. Let’s also presume that no marked electoral roll of service voters is supplied only to the BJP and they don’t possess even the serial number of the service voters.
Even then the Election Commission of India can’t close the chapter. It is simply not acceptable that those who ‘perform’ electronic voting successfully exercise their own franchise on a ballot paper. And it is equally surprising why the Election Commission can’t think electronically about their own staff.
Even if election is held in the last phase, there is a gap of one or two days between the last polling day and the counting day. None of the service voter enjoys the ‘polling holiday’ like others. Let Election Commission declare the next day a ‘polling holiday’ for them. Keep EVMs at the Returning Officer’s office in each constituency the next day. Let them go and vote there and then enjoy a holiday in their home town. There are ample numbers of EVMs lying in the spare quota. And Goa requires only 40!
Ultimately the service voting also needs to be equally transparent and fair.
Bipolar is not the word used only for ‘mental disorder’. The Oxford also defines it as “having or relating to two poles or extremities.” The Election Commission of India is today behaving ‘bipolar’ with two extremities. The EVMs for the general voters and the Ballot Paper for the service voters.
Let’s do away with this ‘disorder’ and bring the whole polling process ‘in order.’
Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.
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