We are not surprised with the angry reactions among politicians cutting across party lines regarding repoll. Their magical world has been turned upside down. That is why they are afraid. Today’s politicians are the product of a corrupt political culture and they are also status-quoists. So, they will oppose anything new. It is their nature. That is why they are vehemently opposing the idea of repoll after repoll as floated by the Election Commission of India. They are not ready to listen to what the general people is saying in this regard. Because they only want votes, not public opinion.
People are waiting for the plot to unfold, as instances of proxy voting continue to pile up. And how can one be satisfied with the trailer of good show? For the last sixty years or so, corrupt politicians had been duping and shortchanging the general public. So far, they have been side-stepping the roadblocks and hurdles put up by the Commission. They have made a mockery of the electoral system and democratic process and as a result we have even witnessed the entry of ‘Thikadar’ Social Workers in Manipur politics in the recent past. But this time, their game has been exposed. State election officials have finished photo comparison work in 523 polling stations against which complaints were received. A report has already been submitted to the Election Commission and a team of special observers is arriving Wednesday to directly examine the findings of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer. Hotline between the ECI and CEO is in place and a decision is expected by February 23.
Amidst these developments, political parties including the Congress have voiced their concerns about the possible repoll decision. Non-Congress parties have cited waste of time and money from the public exchequer while objecting to repeated repoll. The state Congress chief Gaikhangam, while admitting that identification of bogus voters would be difficult, has expressed his reservations with regard to repeated repoll. Our question is why he has not come up with an alternative idea to overcome the malpractices. The non-Congress parties had at least come up with the idea of invalidation even though it is not practically possible, as pointed out by the Joint CEO. This illustrates the lack of imagination among the political class in Manipur.
The process of overhauling the electoral system is a time consuming task, no doubt. But one will be able to speed up the process if election managers are committed and when the political parties cooperate with the Election Commission instead of opposing its new measures. We must congratulate SY Quraishi and his team for the bold and new measures they have introduced in 2012 state elections with Manipur as the experimental base. Many lessons have been learnt from Manipur elections 2012, and they are still learning from the experiences gained. One must understand the commitment and sincerity of the Quraishi team. More particularly, the political parties must help the Commission in electoral reforms instead of trying to undermine the role of the Commission. Once again, we would like to remind the Commission that the Manipur public is ready for repoll after repoll so that we may teach a lesson to erring and corrupt political leaders.