And the results are clear as light: the Trinamul Congress has once again swept the polls. This picture by a photojournalist for The ...
And the results are clear as light: the Trinamul Congress has once again swept the polls.
|This picture by a photojournalist for The Telegraph sums it up all.|
The move by the former State Election Commissioner, S.R. Upadhaya to defer the counting of votes for the Biddhannagar polls was appreciable. It was an indirect admission to the fact that the elections were far from free and fair. Although such practices are not new in the state where rigging has been known for decades, it was perhaps the first time that brute force was employed by a party to secure a clean sweep in the corporation polls. It was shocking to read from the reports of some newspapers, how the "foot soldiers" were paid an amount to account for the fake votes. It brings great dismay to learn that this is unfortunately the reality in ground-zero.
However, what is more appalling was the appointment of a temporary election commissioner, Alapan Bandyopadhyay. It is disturbing to learn that such a "temporary" election commissioner has indeed been appointed. Does this not go against the independence of the Election Commission? You're no wrong here. Even the Calcutta High Court made an observation in this regard, although it did refuse to pass an interim order at this stage. As a citizen, we all feel deprived of our basic right to vote. And by that, we are virtually pushed out of the democracy. Welcome to the world where hooliganism dominates. Welcome to Bengal.
The fact that the police stood mere witnesses to brutal assaults on senior citizens and journalists only confirms the tale that the police machinery has become a puppet of the executive. From several reports, it is evident that the police force had clear-cut plans not to upset the local party ranks. Diligent officers who wished to perform their duty were stopped by the senior officials. Is this what is supposed to be? Are the police not responsible, at once, for safeguarding the basic rights of the citizens? It is depressing to learn that even the Presiding Officers at the polling stations were helpless- they had no choice other than to watch the fake voters at play.
If such political depravity continues, then it is better to stop conducting elections. It proves pernicious to ignore people's opinions and criticisms. There is no use of such staged elections only for the sake of it. Democracy reaches its climax when people are free to choose their representatives. Oppression by means of rigging is immoral and only highlights the desperation with which a party wishes to conquer power. After all, it is the long-term usage of strong arm tactics that bring the collapse of even the mightiest.