Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Does CEC mean Congress Election Commissioner?

The Chief Election Commissioner (as also the Election Commissioners) of the country is privy to a lot of information on political parties and the election process and has tremendous powers to use or misuse this. In a situation where there is a neck to neck fight between two major political formations, a slight tweaking of a ruling or decision can tilt the scales in one way or the other.

Therefore, it is important that the post of the Chief Election Commissioner is occupied by a person who is not only unbiased and neutral, but also conveys this attitude through his behaviour, words and policies.

However, some of our “respectable” ex-CECs have some question marks on their head, based on their post-retirement careers.

Take the case of Mr. M.S. Gill. Yes, insiders always knew that he was a Congress stooge, but the man kept a neutral face on the outside. God alone knows how many decisions and policy matters he must have tweaked in order to aid the Congress. Of course, post-retirement he has joined the Congress and was well rewarded for his services during his tenure as the CEC with a plum ministry job.

Even as Sports Minister, there was no hint of any neutrality that might have creeped in during his years as a “neutral” CEC. After the sharpshooter, Abhinav Bindra, won the Gold medal at the Beijing Olympics this year, the ex-CEC was so crass in his anti-BJP approach (having shed all pretense of neutrality which he was showing during his CEC years), that he advised the sportsman to visit only Sonia and not Advani.

If one stooge was not enough, now we have the famous James Michael Lyngdoh, who was the CEC during the 2004 General Elections which gave the Congress a slight edge and led to the formation of the present disastrous UPA. His activism during the Gujarat polls of 2002 (after the riots) and his run-in with the BJP loudmouths is well known. We also know how the usual suspects rushed to his defence at that time. While he maintained a straight face when he was accused of being a “Congress agent”, what was startling was his sharing of the dais with Rahul Gandhi at Amritsar on 18th November.

Finally all doubts have been put to rest. Whether he formally joins the party or not, only time will tell. But where his loyalties lie, we all know. Tell me, as a supposedly neutral ex-CEC, would he be willing to share the dais with say, Advani?

And last but not the least, don’t we all know the background of incumbent Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla, whom the Congress is banking upon to see it through in the forthcoming General Elections?

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