5th Apr 2021 11:04:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Despite all water-tight measures to ensure cent percent free and fair elections in the ongoing assembly polls in Assam, yet another extreme example of electoral malpractice has surfaced within days from the first one. In a booth that had 90 voters in total, 181 votes had been cast, a reminder of dark days decades ago when it used to be paper ballots and their rampant lootings. Such sights might be absent now, however, the degree of offence that has tarnished the precious ethos of democracy is exactly the same. ‘Actions’ have flowed in quickly from the ECI which is the only assuring takeaway. But, the ‘wrong route’ to win elections is still a preferred one to walk for whosoever it might be, making the role of the most important watchdog of elections in the country even more important.

The booth that is now at the centre of controversy is in Dima Hasao district under Haflong AC and in arithmetical terms the poll percentage is 200%! So far for the preliminary findings that have emerged, it has come to light that the Presiding and 1st Polling officer of the said booth have allowed the voters registered against the main polling station to cast their votes in the auxiliary polling station. While this much has been made public by the ECI, it’s unclear why this deviation had to be made and who had been the ‘influencers’, if any. That will require a further round of investigation by the ECI and law enforcing authorities and it goes without saying that neutrality will be the aspect that will matter most. Citing "dereliction of duty" in its order, the ECI has suspended six polling officials and in all probability there’s going to be a re-poll. It’s a matter of fact that such incidents create a sense of dismay among voters, not only in the booths or constituencies the wrongdoings surface, but also throughout the country. It needs reminding how the ‘EVM-hijacking’ episode in Assam created discontent among the people there, leading even to violence. Repercussions are bound to happen and that in many cases culminate into law and order situations. It can be recalled that just days ahead of the current assembly elections, the ECI during its expenditure monitoring process seized a mammoth cache of cash, liquor and other valuables amounting to around Rs 331 cr, a record so far.

The two back-to-back incidents in Assam have fuelled the speculation that loopholes in the election process are still too many. While the ECI must continue its crusade against all election malpractices, a stronger political and administrative will is still being awaited. 


Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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