‘Money, muscle still big challenges in Indian elections’

‘Money, muscle still big challenges in Indian elections’

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New Delhi (UNB) – All the election bodies now face challenges in checking the influence of muscle power, money and biased media reports while arranging fair and free polls, said a high official of Indian Election Commission.
“There’re three major challenges. I think, all the election bodies, including that of yours (Bangladesh Election Commission), will have the three challenges,” Deputy Election Commissioner of India Umesh Sinha told a group of Bangladesh journalists at the Indian Election Commission office in New Delhi on Tuesday.Talking about the influence of biased media reports, he said some media run bad news to turn the election environment in favour of or against somebody.
“Some media, especially local TV channels, in districts try to colour (electoral scenario) by saying somebody is winning or leading, and they also try to malign,” Sinha said.
About the appointment procedure of election commissioners in India, he said senior civil servants having proven integrity and experience are appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner and two election commissioners.
“The Chief Election Commissioner is appointed by the President. And the senior most civil servants of the country are posted (to EC), normally after their retirement. The officers are with proven integrity and proven experience,“ he said.
Fortunately, he said, in India all the chief election commissioners have proved themselves and undergone the tests of time, he said adding that the Election Commission has to work with all political parties as per the frameworks under which the EC works.
Noting that there is constitutional safeguard for the election body, he said there is no influence from any ruling party or ruling government. “All decisions are taken independently by the EC. And all political parties have confidence in the Election Commission.”
The Deputy Election Commissioner said the Commission does not hesitate to take any action in case of any anomaly during elections.
“The Election Commission has the power to declare any election null and void. When the EC feels it has been influenced by reason of any money and muscle power or any other reason, the EC has the supreme power to declare the election null and void,” the Indian EC official told the Bangladeshi journalists.
About electronic voting machine (EVM), he said India is successfully using the machine as nobody can temper it. “The machine is a totally time-tested one. It is proven temper-proof machine,” he insisted.

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