( ECI Bomb thut )
By Kambam Ibohal Singh, Ex-service Man
The election of the 10th Manipur Legislature Assembly was held on 28th Jan.2012 amid turmoil, violence and killing despite deployment of 350 coys. of paratroopers to ensure free and fair election. Was the ECI satisfied with the deployment of 350 coys of paramilitary forces to conduct the single phase election? Manipur is since long time reeling under the hostile activities of various rebel outfits. In this context did the ECI the needful? Immediate reinforcement of Security forces is a must to contain the situation arraises out of the untoward incident but there was contradictory tale of the Tampi Polling station incident in Chakpikarong (CDL Dist) in which polling personnels were killed in an indiscriminate firing of the NSCN(IM) cadres. Rs. 10 lakhs cannot bring life to the deceased. It was the most unfortunate poll related incident by the outlawed outfit to focus public attention intentionally. Were the accountabilities for the victims rest on their own fate?
On 4th Feb’12 repolling of 34 polling stations in five hill districts were held. In that repolling voters were frisked before entering to vote and security forces were fully alerted. No such measures were taken in selected highly sensitive and abnormally suspected polling stations on the 28th Jan. 2012. There araises a big question mark as to how free, fair and true election was held?
“ Cautioned IM men” after the killing incident? The NSCN(IM) had already done their job remarkably well with violence and killings. Actionless and Zigzag statement from any central leaders after each and every incident involving lost of life and properties is not a new one and not welcome by the people of the state. Obligatory and post mortem statements sans timely action are not acceptable and totally discarded. This reminds us the Union Home Minister, P.C’s visit to Mizoram to take stock of law and order situation there while Manipur was burning in the worst law and order situation in the wake of proposed unsuccessful visit of NSCN(IM) leader Th. Muivah to his native village with the consent of the Home Minister.
The election held on 28th Jan. 2012 was full of poll irregularities. Besides booth capturing, proxy voting, threatening the voters at gun point, misuse of postal ballot, non – deletion and inclusion of names of dead persons in the electoral rolls etc. there was free flow of black money. Many more complains are likely to come up since candidates get time amply to look into the malpractices and unfair means adopted by their opponents. As for the strength of candidates to exert money power, the galore media report of scarcity of small denomination of Rs. 500/-, Rs. 1000/- in fish stall, chicken centers, and other shopping molls on the very next day of the election is enough to realize. It was ridiculed that the media reporters had hard time in their attempt to avoid the vibrating sound of the brand new denomination of Rs. 500/-, Rs.1000/- notes in the market.
A few days ahead of the polling day, like pilgrimage there was heavy rush of party workers /agents every day just to have a picnic party at residence of the candidate. That was the starting point(on the mark) of the flow of black money with a long list of voters for barter with denomination of Rs.500/-, Rs.1000/- or Rs.1000 2 for voters as per the list. These active workers were the only connectivity between the candidate and the voters as people called them bloody eye of the candidate. All the expendable amounts of the candidate on road show, street meeting, flag hoisting ceremony, poster, exhibition cards etc. were easily converted into part of the black money. For the reasons there was every evidence to prove futility and hollowness in the norms laid down by the ECI.
There must be a mechanism to check the number of workers to act in this sinister deed. Only registered/approved workers should be allowed to work for the candidate under the aegis of the observers and their agents. So far no achievements of the observers are in the eye of the public. This may not be treated as undemocratic since so many things were done undemocratically in the name of democracy. The people of India experienced election for many a times in absence of electoral reforms in the last 60 years and so. Candidates won or got elected by dint of money power or by threatening the voters at gun point (muscle power). As a result people are still eager to get the real service of a true patriot or a public servant in the truest sense. As such it would be a blatant lie to hope the light at the end of the tunnel i.e. to the full satisfaction of the people.