Getting ready for election
As per the existing Laws, the term of a State Assembly is five years. Elections are normally held just before the term is over. The polls are conducted a month or few days before the completion of the tenure of the existing Assembly by the Election Commission; poll results are announced just before the expiry date of the existing term of the Assembly. This is the normal course.
There are circumstances under which elections can be advanced before the tenure is over. Suppose the term is to be completed in March 2021, election may be advanced by the State Govt itself with any reasonable pretext; or under a certain extraordinary situation the competent Judiciary may give a verdict for an early election; or as recommended by the Head of the State under President’s Rule or otherwise.
Elections may be conducted before the normal stipulated time. For instance, if the incumbent government of the ruling party or combination is extremely confident of re-election or regaining power – they (Cabinet led by the CM ) recommend early dissolution of the House and ask for election. Normally the Governor accepts the recommendation, dissolves the Assembly and initiates the election procedure in consultation with the Election Commission. Normally under such a situation, the Governor may ask the incumbent CM & team to continue as care-taker government till the new Assembly is constituted and a new govt. is formed.
There are election enthusiasts who are planning to contest the next State Assembly election. They have actually started doing their campaigns; they are organizing rallies, meetings (big or small), providing water-containers, distributing food items to the poor people, constructing pucca huts for the needy, running sports shows during Yaoshang, - thank god Yaoshang ‘thabal’, feast, ‘lila’ were restricted. They must be grateful to the Birensab for saving their hard earned money. Actually, the Covid ji is directly helping the aspiring candidates. Otherwise, the outflow of money from the intending candidates would have been humongous.
Again, there are incumbent Ministers, Chairmen and other post holders who are equally concerned about their position for the election. They have more responsibilities. They have to take care of their voters in their respective constituencies and at the same time they have to contribute to the party. Sometimes the contribution is asked before the tickets are announced. So, most of them somehow contribute willingly to the party fund or the High command or Low Command or all Commands. If they don’t oblige, there may be ‘hera feri’ at the time of ticket distribution. The ticket Committee is led by the President, State in-charge / out-charge, CM, MPs and other leaders. Normally their recommendation is final. Sometimes some powerful hands at the Headquarter may do few tinkerings here and there, but not much.
State’s elections are due in Feb/Mar 2022 for Punjab, Goa, Manipur, Himachal, UP etc. But once the State Constitutional machinery is collapsed and PR is imposed in any of these States, elections will be conducted sooner or later – no time frame. PR period may be extended further if the ground situation demands and if the Parliament approves. Whether the Constitutional machinery has collapsed or not is to be decided by the Governor. If he/she thinks that the Constitutional machinery in the State has failed to deliver justice and maintain rule of law she/he may recommend PR to the President (meaning Union Home etc.). Normally the head of the State functions in an impartial way. Such recommendation goes only when there is a genuine problem in governance. We had PR for many 6 months in Punjab, J&K etc., as the ground situation was not ripe for holding elections. That is restricted democracy.
Democracy is a beautiful system where few wise men/women rule the entire State or Country in the name of people. To further fool the people a wiser man once said, “democracy is the govt of the people, by the people for the people”. People’s representatives are elected by the people – fine. But the candidates available or people who are not contesting are mostly scoundrels. What to do, NOTA can’t rule the country or run the government. Don’t call me an anarchist. I believe in democracy; it is so far the best option.
But when China starts saying that they are the biggest democracy in the world and Russia starts believing them and Americans start blaming Russia for tinkering their elections the future of World Democracy is really bleak. On the other hand, we still believe in the microchips made by foreign countries and replicated by our wizards. Can we have elections without machines? This is my personal opinion please don’t take it otherwise. I still prefer ballot papers to machines. I have an innocuous logic. Manipulating papers is messier and more time consuming whereas manipulation by machine is easier and faster. Then why should we give machines the advantage when we have enough people to do the same. After all, democracy is all about people, not machines. Rigging through machines is blatant manipulation of democracy, but the rigging by the Party workers sounds more democratic.
Get ready for an early election. Don’t ask me why. This is my reading. I may be completely wronged by the Apex Court but….