Discussing recent orders from the high courts of Madras and Calcutta which strongly lambasted the Electoral Commission for its laxity in applying the COVID protocol during the recent elections to the State Assembly, ARUN SRIVASTAVA writes about the fact that the disgrace of the Commission is just the latest example of bad governance that characterizes the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
the oral order of the division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Judge Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy of the Madras High Court, deeming the Election Commission (EC) as “the most irresponsible not to prevent political parties from freely abusing the COVID-19 protocol Was remarkable to put it in no uncertain terms: “You should probably be charged with murder.” The observations of the High Court revealed the denigration of the democratic and constitutional institutions of the country.
The tribunal Noted with anguish that the EC has violated its orders on several occasions: “Despite the repeated orders of this tribunal, unfolding like a record broken at the foot of almost all orders on an election petition, that the Covid protocol must be maintained during the campaign election, the meaning of adhering to such protocols may have been lost on the Electoral Commission, passing through the silence of the Electoral Commission, as the campaign and rallies proceeded without distancing standards being maintained and in gratuitous disregard of the other requirements of the protocol.
The EC should have prepared and ensured compliance with COVID security measures, but its arrogance and closeness to power made it ignore its responsibility. He dragged the ballot process through eight phases in West Bengal, until the BJP advantage.
The High Court did not fail to point out that the EC was the “sole institution” responsible for the deadly COVID-19 wave India is experiencing today.
On April 22, hearing three public interest litigation motions asking for the application of the COVID protocol during the polls, a divisional bench of the Calcutta High Court, chaired by Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan, had censorship the EC for simply circulating circulars and arranging COVID security meetings with political parties, which in its view was not sufficient to ensure that parties abide by the COVID protocol. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, while welcoming Madras High Court observations that the EC could not avoid being blamed for the spread of COVID, alleged that Modi and the EC were responsible for the current situation.
The EC is an autonomous constitutional body and should work independently. But the way the EC worked since the appointment of former election commissioner Sunil Arora as its head in 2017 has raised suspicion that he has turned into the B-team of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). The political elite are inclined to try to influence the independence and decision-making of the bureaucrats; the situation becomes much worse when the bureaucrats voluntarily become submissive to the ruling class.
Interestingly, Arora is allegedly receive the post of governor of Goa for helping his political masters.
It should also be mentioned that yesterday the EC request the Madras High Court to prevent the media from reporting the adverse High Court remarks against it, as this has tarnished the reputation of the EC. He even argued that there was no evidence to show that the campaign was a significant factor in driving a COVID spike (although, there is).
History of PM Modi’s policy failures
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is seen as the country’s greatest political leader today. What are the parameters that create such an impression? Apparently, the main reason is his victories in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, and the electoral success the BJP has enjoyed under his leadership. These victories seem to have helped him make up for a lot administrative failures.
A glimpse into how Modi works as a PM makes it clear that he was never a visionary leader. He lives and speaks only of the past and the present.
He simply has exploited right-wing populism and Hindu nationalism to gain its current reverence and reputation among the masses.
During his reign, however, India and its citizens had to suffer in an unprecedented manner on several occasions. It turned out to be a dismal failure on all fronts, whether foreign or national Politics. Due to its lack of vision and planning, combined with the disastrous twin burst of demonetization-TPS, India’s economic growth has suffered a serious jerk, and we went through a elongate economic crisis. During this time, India’s democratic institutions have also been systematically emasculated.
Also read: The void of the Hindutva governance model
The mismanagement of the pandemic, the latest example of incompetence of the BJP government
The COVID pandemic has simply exposed, once again, the lack of administrative foresight and the political bankruptcy of the current regime. Last year, as he announced the nationwide lockdown in March, he simply had affirmed that “the Mahabharat war was won in 18 days, and we will win the war against COVID in 21 days.” Of course, he is not held accountable for this promise, just like any of his other promises.
In his speech on January 28 at the Davos conference of the World Economic Forum, he boasted that India has defeated COVID and ridiculed academics and scientists who had alerted India to the possibility of being the epicenter of the pandemic. In fact, as far as August 2020, several experts had warned that India faced the threat of a second wave.
In cruel irony, the Second Wave hit us within three months of its Davos boast. Today, crematoriums and cemeteries are full of bodies. The situation has become so terrible that 40 member countries of the international fraternity to offer to help India out of the crisis. Many of these countries have offered to send oxygen.
Modi has never been serious in the fight against COVID. If he had been, he would have ordered the Kumbh Mela devotees to stay away. BJP effective social media could have played their part in spreading his message to every nook and cranny of the country. But he selected don’t do that. In contrast, the government of Maharashtra success by persuading the organizers of Pandharpur Yatra to suspend it for this year.
In the wake of the first wave of COVID, the Union government had sanctioned the establishment of 162 oxygen plants across the country. But so far, only 33 such factories have been established. The PM CARES Fund, created by Modi to fight COVID, is again to reveal how he spent the thousands of crore rupees he has received in donations for his mission.
The Union government had commissioned some companies and some public sector companies to manufacture ventilators and the money was to be spent on the PM CARES fund. But so far the response has been pretty poor. The fans that had been sent to Gujarat, for example, were found to be defective.
Since the 2020 coronavirus attack, as the rest of the world went into combat mode, the BJP has been busy capturing power in the states by unsettling elected governments and evolving devious strategies to win elections. (IPA Service)
The article was originally published in The booklet.