Election and corruption

When chairman of Press Council Justice Markandey Katju told media reporters that all claims of progress and prosperity in Gujarat are wrong and baseless, and the condition of food facility there is worse than that in the poor African country Somalia, the reporters asked then how could Narendra Modi win the election despite this for the third consecutive term. Then the Justice said, “Everyone knows how election is fought and won in India.” Justice Katju was commenting before media persons in New Delhi on the condition in Gujarat on 23 December. He was telling them that the role of Modi in the riots after the burning of a train at Godhra station in 2002 is such a deep stain on his face that it can never be wiped out. (Asian Age, 24 December, 2012) The Justice also said that in comparison to Gujarat the record of Shivraj Chauhan, chief minister of another BJP-ruled state Madhya Pradesh, is the better. The chief minister there intends to work for promotion of the Urdu language also.

The apolitical should do something
Justice Katju did not elaborate the modes of (corruption in) election; he only talked about it as a matter of principle. But now a famous social activist Shabnam Hashmi, in the light of her personal experiences and observations, said that there was large-scale corruption and malfunctioning in the recent Gujarat Assembly elections, and electronic voting machines had been used therein. She held these machines the biggest danger for democracy. According to a report in the Inquilab Daily (29 December, 2012), Ms Hashmi had been in Gujarat during the Assembly elections, working day and night along with the poor, labourers and people belonging to the minority community; she hoped firmly that it would yield desirable results. But the results gave way to disappointment for a large section of population in Gujarat. She also questioned the presence of American diplomats and journalists in Gujarat and said there is great conspiracy of foreign forces in the victory of Modi. Ms Hashmi warned that the same foreign forces would become active in making Modi prime minister in 2014 if the corrupt practices in Gujarat elections are not probed. Shabnam Hashmi is so much disappointed with the election results of Gujarat and the silence of the Union Government thereon that she tendered her resignation from all the committees of UPA Government.

The history of fraud is old
People generally are aware of the evil in the electoral process pinpointed by the two responsible persons. Even people living in villages and small towns are aware of whatever happens in the low level elections. However, the malfunctioning in the elections for Lok Sabha and Assemblies remains in the knowledge only of commentators and media. The course of malfunctioning, use of force and fraud in electoral process started soon after the Independence. The most poignant voice raised thereon was by the Jan Sangh (present BJP). During the 1972 general elections this party said that the Indira Gandhi government did a fraud in the elections. One allegation was that the ink used to mark the fingers of voters vanished after some time. A leader of Jan Sangh Balraj Madhok also wrote a book on this subject. Ink is used (to mark voters’ fingers) even today but the easiest source of fraud is the electronic voting machine, which people have complained about earlier also. But since all big political parties benefit from it, it could not emerge as a political issue. Now when Ms Shabnam Hashmi has raised this issue, she should take it forward; it would be better if she contacts Justice Katju to know what his information about it is. 

22/01/13 khabar-O-Nazar by Parwaaz Rahmani, sehrozaDAWAT, translated by: Abu Yusuf

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