Bhopal: Former Chief Election Commissioner of India on Saturday 20 August compared the largest exercise in democracy – the general elections in India – with the problems that similar exercises in other countries throw up where the results are challenged by the defeated candidates and especially cited the example of the United States of America where one has witnessed the spectacle of “stealing the elections’ campaign that culminated with the breach of Capitol Hill in Washington DC. As against this, the integrity of national elections has never been challenged and successively there has been peaceful transition of power, Rawat underscored.
The former CEC was delivering a talk at a special session organised by Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh branch of Indian Institute of Public Administration at the State Academy of Administration in the State capital.
Rawat began by introducing the subject with a broad overview of the election process in India, preparation of voters’ list, the different dimensions of election campaign by the political parties, distribution of election material, voting in the polling booth and the declaration of results.
Rawat stated that elections in India have scored very high in nine out of eleven indices of an international organization. The two indices in which it had trailed relate to the power of money in elections and participation of criminals in the election process.
Discussions that followed were intense and depicted the deep interest that participants had in the polling exercise. The chief objections were about the problems that were being encountered in preparing the electoral rolls, the financing of the elections, especially in the light of electoral bonds. The complaints about undue influence of money and muscle power, postal ballot and character assasination through fake news. The issue of paid news was also raised.
Former Chief Election Commissioner explained the various steps to preserve integrity of electoral rolls and threw light on improvement of the system of postal voting. He also explained how the powers of Election Commission were limited because it is responsible only for conduct of elections and not for upkeeping the moral standards of society.