Election Commission proves sceptics wrong

New Delhi, Nov 22 | Updated: Nov 23 2005, 05:30am hrs
The Election Commission, as the chief ministerial designate Bihar Nitish Kumar says, has indeed demolished the myth that free and fair elections cannot be held in Bihar. The poll body has come for high praise from several quarters for the virtually unprecedented elections that were largely fair and peaceful, barring some stray incidents in a few places.

The credit, to a great extent, goes to ECs legal advisor KJ Rao, who with a missionary zeal went about implementing the Commissions guidelines. He notched thousands of petro-miles to inspect the polling booths in the remotest parts of Bihar something which endeared the masses towards him. His prompt decisions in transferring officials on poll duty found discharging their responsibilities in a partial manner, kept the poll officials on their toes and there seemed to be a total elimination of the poll management, a term used to describe connivance of the poll officials in rigging.

The EC also did not hesitate in taking action against political leaders, especially those belonging to the ruling coalition. The most notable was the action against former union minister of state Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, who ultimately had to lose his job when an NBW was issued against him after he tried to interfere in the poll process and prevent his brother , a candidate, from being arrested when found with illegal weapons and liquor.

The EC registered impartially against anyone violating model of conduct, even senior party leaders were booked for minor offences such as exceeding the time limit for campaigning moves which kept the political parties from deviating.

The EC also put pressure on the state administration to not only list all non-bailable warrant (NBW) absconding for the last six months, but also took steps to delete their names from the electoral rolls.

From word go, it seems the ECs resolve was unflinching in wanting to prove free and fair polls can be held in the state.