Advertisement

  • News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

How Good Is The Indian Poll Process?

Haryana had altogether ten seats and Punjab had 13. In both states, some top political leaders and political families fielded their candidates. Some won and many bits the dust. What are the grounds for considering the process meticulous?

Photo Credit : PTI

1489643496_1Xa4px_EVM-470-pti.jpg

This writer was chosen as a Special Observer by the Election Commission for the 2019 general elections for the states of Punjab and Haryana. A close observation of the election process obliterated any doubts about laxity or complicity at any stage. The Indian election process is methodical and impartial.

Haryana had altogether ten seats and Punjab had 13. In both states, some top political leaders and political families fielded their candidates. Some won and many bits the dust. What are the grounds for considering the process meticulous?

The key is the level of public involvement and public scrutiny, right from the stage of sensitisation and outreach under the SVEEP programme, the alertness of the electoral machinery to address complaints and the unambiguous message that strong action would be taken against those who aim to disrupt the process.

As a result, across the two states, the overall atmosphere was subdued and there was hardly any election fever. Vulnerable hamlets had been identified, licensed arms were compulsorily deposited with the police, nakabandi (patrolling) arranged through static posts and flag marches organised. Sector magistrates and zonal magistrates were appointed to the smallest units. 

A large number of habitual trouble makers were apprehended. For each Assembly segment, there was an Assistant Returning Officer and a Deputy Superintendent of Police. Great emphasis was placed on compliance with the Model Code of Conduct. Permissions for public addresses, vehicle deployment permissions, removal of posters and banners from public buildings, etc.  were all keenly and decisively tackled. Rigorous tracking of complaints was done along with those received through the online National Grievance Reporting portal and the Election Commission’s own C-Vigil portal. 

In Haryana alone, there were 454 flying squads, 119 Video Viewing Teams, 181 Video Surveillance squads, 127 assistant expenditure observers and 123 accounting teams that were doing the tabulation of actual expenditure. 

The Control Units, the Ballot Units, the VVPATs were duly received, stored, tested and deployed faithfully in the full gaze of specially appointed observers for each constituency. Poll day monitoring included a central control room, deployment of the IT teams, arrangement at the receipt centres for collection of polled EVMs and other papers, sealing the strong room in the presence of the observer and representatives of the candidates under a double lock system,  with videography of the sealing exercise, which was then placed under 24X7 CCTV surveillance. The counting day arrangements were equally elaborate and included videography of the entire counting process and the VVPAT counting. 

With such a large phalanx of bright and sincere civil servants from the IAS, IRS, IPS and other services converging in each constituency with single-minded devotion to this elaborate Yagya (ritual) of democracy, the margin for manipulation was zero. Not surprisingly, there were no significant discrepancies and no suspicions about the impartiality of the proceedings.

However, for the future, the one matter that needs urgent national deliberation is the prime time lost in the whole electoral process – from the date of announcement of elections to the counting of votes – a good 75 days!  When we are trying desperately to keep pace with China, which spends zero time on elections – clearly we need to perk up. 


A 75-day-lull is way too, too big a loss of productivity!   


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Tags assigned to this article:
election commission VVPATs punjab haryana EVMs CCTVs

Raghav Chandra

The author is Former Chairman, NHAI

More From The Author >>
sentifi.com

Top themes and market attention on: