Raising serious allegations Ugly side of the vote
The allegations are serious and the voices of protest that have come forth ought to be listened with the merit they deserve. The Congress has already gone on record to allege that the BJP has used the service of groups under the Suspension of Operation pact to intimidate and force voters to vote for BJP candidates, the Shiv Sena has urged the Election Commission of India to conduct repoll at numerous polling stations under Henglep Assembly Constituency. Congress candidate in Saitu Assembly Constituency Dr Lamtinthang Haokip has also urged the ECI and the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur to conduct a repoll at a polling booth in Saitu Assembly Constituency. Former chief spokesperson of the BJP and now expelled from the saffron party, Chongtham Bijoy has also spoken out against what he alleges are gross poll misconduct of the BJP. Amid the charges and counter charges is a video clip which shows an unidentified man sitting just in front of the EVM ostensibly to direct the voters who they should vote for. Needless to say the said video clip has gone viral on the social media and even as the said video clip is doing the round and fingers of accusation are being pointed at the BJP, at least three members of the saffron party have urged CEO to conduct repoll in at least 24 polling stations in Saikul and Saitu Assembly Constituencies. How the ECI respond to the charges and counter charges is something which will be known soon, but it is significant to note that standing in the middle of the charges and counter charges is the BJP. Or is it because the BJP is the party to beat that the finger of accusation should be pointed against it ? No clear cut answer will be forthcoming here, but all these instances should underline the point that not everything was held under the true spirit of democracy in the first phase of the election held on February 28. It is also significant to note that charges and counter charges have come from places where militant outfits under the SoO pact are active and this should give some food for thought.
The first phase polling is over and there is nothing much to suggest that things will take a turn for the better ahead of the second phase poll scheduled on March 5. Perhaps this is where the ECI and the CEO would need to crack the whip in the cases where allegations have come and demonstrate that it means business at least to somewhat neutralise allegations which have come raining. All glaring examples that in the rush for power, not much thought is given to the spirit of democracy and the ideals that rule universal franchise and the right of the people to elect their own representatives. It is not only the office of the CEO or the ECI which should be expected to make the election meaningful, that is to make it free and fair, but how much the people as a whole can stand up to the lure of easy money and the threat of muscle power. Muscle power and money power can definitely be a dangerous cocktail and it was with a reason why The Sangai Express had noted with anguish how the talk of the day on February 28 centred around, ‘how much was on offer to the voters on February 28 at so and so AC.’ The two Ms and unfortunate it is that the outcome of the election should be dictated by how much influence one can use at the disposal of these two factors. And it is the unbridled influence that the two factors are allowed to wield that has given rise to the rot and incompetence that one sees all around. It should also say something significant on why cadres of groups engaged in a peace process allow themselves to be used in an election held under a system, against which the armed groups initially took up the guns.