This time on vacation in Bihar, I had the fortune of witnessing the election process in the most "politically" aware state. The high point was listening to Rabri Devi in her public campaign who cudn't remember the name of the local MLA she was campaigning for in her speech.
The work of Election Comission is laudable in rooting out bungling from the state that has played host to 15 years of tyranny by the Lalu-Rabri led RJD. Of what i am told EC had revised electoral rolls that has lead to removal of many bogus villages (that don't even exist) and more than 55,000 voters being removed from one such revision. Now know why RJD won even when nobody was voting for them?
The wide presence of BSF, CRPF (all non-Bihar battalions) has lead to the right voter coming to fore rather than the prevelant booth capturing.
What hurt me were 2 things arising out of my own personal experience:
- The frequency with which elections are being held: Our constitution envisaged elections once in 5 years. The ground reality is more like every 2-3 years. This has lead to high spendings on election process wasting tax payers money and leading to inflation in the economy. Who is to be accountable for the same? The ministers and political parties don't consider the tax payers money sanctimonious and continue to neglect the development of the country for their political zero sum games.
- Executives behaving like goons: EC manages the election process. IAS offices administer and executes them. The goon behaviour is highlighted by a simple act of seizure of vehicles. I have been witness to a family being taken off their vehicle and the vehicle being pressed for election duty. All the private buses plying in the electorate have been seized. All private vehicles who dare to venture on the road have been seized. That leads me to wonder what happens to people who are to commute during this time?
The only other mode of public transport (trains and very minimal no of govt buses) get overloaded. In the train that I took from my village - Khajauli to Darbhanga the local train was bursting to seam with people forced to take the train 'cause they had no other means of commuting. Again from Darbhanga to Patna the experience on next train (Intercity Express) was equally horrible. People had to stand all the way for a journey of more than a total of 9 hours.
Whose duty is it to ensure that society and people don't get frustrated by lack of civil ameneties when elections happen? Does that mean that each time election happens all of electorate should stop travelling? All businesses, personal movement should be stopped? Does that amount to a curfew in the electorate?
I am told by some politically aware people here that some amount of coercion is necessary for elections to happen on innocent people who are concerned going about their daily business.
I think it is high time EC formulates a ideal code of conduct for the officers indulging in such anti-social activities. And just the way it did for politicans, force the same!
It remains to be seen if the govt. administration is to serve the people of India or the people of India are meant to serve the govt administration (a nexus of politicans and diplomats)?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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