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Ensure free and fair elections

THE Tribune debate on the powers of the CEC vis-à-vis the provisions of the Constitution of India, started with the article "The EC and fair polls" by B G Verghese (Feb 9), has emphasised the point that the Election Commission can conduct fair and free elections only by being above suspicion. When one Election Commissioner, who is likely to step in as the CEC very shortly, is like Caesar's wife, not above suspicion, how can we expect the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha to be free and fair?

The incumbent CEC has not exceeded the powers vested in him by the Constitution by recommending the removal of a junior colleague. Mr Ramaswamy Iyer (Feb 11) has rightly observed, "We have to go by what the Constitution of India says, not by what we think it ought to have said."

However, the timing of the recommendation by the CEC is unquestionably inappropriate. Such unsavoury controversies can be avoided by putting a constitutional bar on the person having served as the CEC or EC from seeking any post of profit in future. Even now, the government can defuse the situation by extending the term of the present CEC by another six weeks so as to enable the current Election Commission to complete the process of the forthcoming elections.


Nexus for corruption

I agree with the views expressed in the article "In the arms bazaar: Politicians, not procedures, are to blame" (Feb 7) by K. Subrahmanyam.. Indeed, there is often a nexus between corrupt politicians and corrupt bureaucrats.

The politicians select bureaucrats and appoint them to their posts and not the other way around. In India, there is no dearth of honest bureaucrats, politicians and judges but they are not being properly utilised by the system, which is dominated by corrupt decision making machinery. Therefore, the need of the hour is that all of us should take the vow to be fair and honest. Only then can corruption be rooted out. Let us all join hands to remove corruption and be honest. Honest citizens alone can make an honest nation.


United we stand…

H K Dua in his front-page editorial "Sharp turns: Troubled times lie ahead" (Feb 9) has very intelligently cautioned us all about the impending difficult times if we don't give a unanimous mandate to the most deserving party in the ensuing elections. Divided we fall and united we stand and hence we must vote judiciously. In case, the regional parties form a coalition government, it would be disastrous. How can a multiparty coalition think of India as a nation? Every regional party is concerned about its vote bank which may be Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or Muslims. But we have to think of our nation first. We will survive only if India survives.



If either the Congress or the BJP fails to get majority in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, it shall be detrimental, destructive and dangerous for our democracy. The government at the Centre formed with the support of regional parties would be a mixture of chalk and cheese. It will give rise to instability. To save the nation from this ugly situation, Mr Dua has sincerely pointed out to the masses and the electorate to think constructively to elect the government that can provide stable and effective leadership.



Regarding the two-fold problem of India –– recession and terrorism –– it should be fairly clear that it is a problem of every nation. Today, every country in the world has been affected by these two problems. The solution lies in mass movements to attain discipline, devotion and dedication to fight against terrorism.


Election manifestos

Our political parties while formulating their election manifestos must keep in mind the major deficiencies in the country's socio-economic areas. Globally India accounts for one- third of the world's poor. Our country accounts for 20 per cent of the world's maternal death.

Nearly half of our children are malnourished. The infant mortality rate and gender discrimination have affected the gender ratio. A large number of our people still do not have access to potable water and sanitation facilities. Polio refuses to leave India. Epidemics like dengue and chickengunya made its reappearance after half a century. The HIV virus is becoming more fertile on the Indian ground.

Initiatives like the National Housing Policy have not brought shelter for all. Industrial growth has gone down and unemployment has increased.

The politician-bureaucracy-police-criminal nexus has undermined the instruments of governance. Plus, superstition and human sacrifice continue. There is unequal development in Indian society. Let us see whether our political parities can address these issues.




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