Skip to main content

'Defiance' of Election Commission guidelines in Tamil Nadu: Do media, politicians care?

By NS Venkataraman* 

With the polling in Tamil Nadu over, many citizens heave a sigh of relief that they would be spared from the noise made by politicians and media at least for the next few weeks, it is time to reflect for a moment about the role of the Election Commission in Tamil Nadu and what kind of respect it commanded from the media and the political parties.
The Election Commission specifically said that no campaign should be carried out in the print and visual media, social media such as Twitter, WhatsApp etc.. on the day preceding the election. Forty eight hours before the election day, no pre-poll survey should be discussed.
However, the print and visual media as well as politicians simply did not take note of the guidelines from the Election Commission, which obviously means, perhaps, they are indifferent as far as the Election Commission is concerned.
Even newspapers published in Tamil and English with long tradition and what one would think of as the reputation that they have to protect, carried massive advertisements running into several pages from more than one political party on April 5, 2021, a day before the polling. 
 It was shocking for a person like me reading a particular English newspaper for over five decades and with a vice like grip that the paper has over me, to find a cartoon published in the centre page on April 5 which is obviously partisan and seems to be aimed at one or two political parties. Obviously, the publication of the cartoon must have been approved by the editor.
One Tamil channel discussed the pre-poll survey on April 4 night, which was against the guidelines issued by the Election Commission, which does not appear to have reacted to such defiance by the political parties and the media.
Highly concerned about such a scenario, I sent a mail to several persons who retired as top officers in the state and central governments, persons known for courage of conviction and some so-called “ordinary people” who have been silently fuming about the steady fall in the value systems in India.
To my surprise, around 70% of the people to whom I sent messages responded. It appears most of them concurred with my concern. Some of them said that the Election Commission has become weak. Some others said that the public opinion has become very weak and impotent.
Tamil and English newspapers carried massive ads running into several pages from more than one political party a day before the polling
Some others said that the section of media has become irresponsible, as it attaches more importance to business promotion and earning money by way of advertisement rather than by standing for the cause as expected by the common people. Some people said that people are also responsible as they put up with all such violations and remain as spectators from the gallery.
Some are of the view that the Election Commission has been systematically weakened by the judiciary, as several decisions of the Election Commission have been overruled by the judiciary in recent times. It appears that the judiciary has developed an “elder brother” attitude towards the Election Commission, though the judiciary and Election Commission are constitutional bodies and derive their authority from the constitution.
An elderly journalist, who practiced as an active journalist in better times, sarcastically said that the “election process in India has become one of the Election Commission versus the rest”.
Another view expressed was that while Election Commission routinely issue warnings and show cause notice to the candidates and political parties not adhering to the guidelines, rarely any action is taken after the conclusion of the poll against those defying the guidelines. They go scot free. One gets an impression that Election Commission wants to go through the poll process somehow. Is the poll process in Tamil Nadu is a case of "operation successful and patient died"?
---
Trustee, Nandini Voice For the Deprived, Chennai

Comments

Anonymous said…
the political parties are fully aware that the EC has transformed itself into the EC of the BJP. Why should political parties care - as long as they have the right affiliations and party?

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Narmada Valley's fossil evidence: Ground for 'nationalists' to argue primates' India roots?

By Saurav Sarkar*  In December 1982, a geologist digging in India’s Central Narmada Valley found something he did not expect. Arun Sonakia, who at the time worked for the Geological Survey of India, unearthed a hominid fossil skullcap from the Pleistocene era. The discovery sent shockwaves through the field of paleoanthropology and put South Asia on the map of human prehistory. Some experts concluded that the skull likely belonged to a member of a predecessor species of ours, Homo heidelbergensis , or perhaps was a hybrid of homo species, while Sonakia himself suggested “ an affinity… to Homo erectus .”

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.