Out Surchandra, in Rameshwar
Other side of second best
Negating the oft repeated line, ‘Vote ta second taba kannabro’ (No point in coming second best in an election and often used as an example to deride a half baked idea, but somehow when translated into English, the punch is lost), for here is a case of a man who came second best at the hustings but is now ready to be sworn in as an MLA and this may be seen as the wheel of justice coming full. The turn around may be seen to have come late, but this is besides the point. In annulling the win of Y Surchandra in the 2017 Assembly election from Kakching Assembly Constituency on a Congress (I) ticket and ruling that the man who came second best must be declared elected, that is M Rameshwar, the ruling of the High Court underlines that in one way or the other the truth will catch up and the ‘wrong doer/s’ will be nailed. This is what gives one hope in the justice delivery system. It is also significant to note that even as the ruling of the High Court came, Y Surchandra was already tagged with the term Ex-MLA as the Speaker’s Tribunal had just before the Rajya Sabha election disqualified him from the Assembly for switching side to the BJP, even though he was declared elected on a Congress ticket in the 2017 Assembly election. The final word may yet be said, as Y Surchandra has already declared that he is ready to go to the Supreme Court to appeal his case, but remember the former MLA has already been disqualified by the Speaker’s Tribunal. Here it would also do good for everyone to remember that the High Court’s decision came not because Surchandra is deemed to have violated Schedule 10 of the Anti-Defection Law but on the ground that he did not furnish correct information in his election affidavit. Don’t lie is the message and this is the interesting part. The Court has already found him guilty of the charges levelled by M Rameshwar and in plain words, it means that the former MLA lied through his teeth while filing his election affidavit and the same could be proved in the Court of law.
One hopes that the ruling of the High Court also comes as the wake up call to many of the professional politicians against whom whispers of suspicion, accompanied by sly nudges and knowing smiles, have been raised whenever they have to declare their assets in the election affidavit. The case here is about white lies and evidences which could be proved in the Court of law but then again there are so many instances which would be well nigh impossible to produce as evidences in the eyes of the law but which everyone seems to know and this is where the sincerity and honesty of all intending candidates become extremely important. Remember Y Surchandra was allowed to stand for election and then win the polls on the basis of wrong information given in the affidavits and perhaps this is where voters can begin separating the chaff from the grains from the stage of the affidavits that intending candidates file before the elections. Go through the affidavits and if there is any hint of suspicion of large scale spiking in the affidavits with half truths and plain white lie, reject the candidate from this stage. Corruption starts from this stage, one may say. On November 7, Manipur will see by elections in four Assembly Constituencies and the Kakching lesson should not be forgotten by the voters of these ACs. Go through the affidavits, study them and if anyone is found submitting affidavits which run contrary to what one sees in the open, reject the candidacy of such elements. This is perhaps the best lesson that one can learn from what has happened at Kakching Assembly Constituency.