Simply ban it

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The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC)’s suggestion to the state government to stop mass recruitment rallies in view of the 2017 state assembly elections is indeed a welcome move. It is not only the political parties, but certain sections of the society were also seriously concerned about the recent recruitment spree initiated by the Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress government. The recent rally at Pangei MPTC complex for recruitment of police constables after cancellation of the 2013 DPC results had generated a major controversy which had led to blockade on the national highway for several days by the angry 2013 candidates and their guardians. The dynamics that are involved in such recruitment processes between the recruiting agencies and the aspiring candidates remain an open secret where the procedures are all conducted with a semblance of transparency but it always is an open secret that lakhs of rupees changed hands. As the word goes, the rate for passing the Physical Efficiency Test (PET) is about 30/40 thousand rupees while the rate for the written test and viva voce clubbed together runs into lakhs of rupees. Many had to do away with their landed properties for feeding the wolf-pack of agents and the VVIPs. The recent fury and the anger of the 2013 candidates after the cancellation order is a clear indication of the utter frustration and the loss they had suffered in monetary terms and properties besides hope. They see it as a grave injustice to them, which is because corruption has become a norm in our society. While the minister and officials expect money from the aspiring candidates, the parents and guardians of the candidates feels it obligatory on their part to pay money. They do not have faith in the ability of their sons and daughters. Even when the minister or whomsoever in authority gives a verbal assurance, they do not feel completely assured unless the authority concerned accepts the money. Corruption and nepotism has taken roots in our society and it is hard to escape from this vicious cycle. Coming back to the issue of recruitment, it is not only the state police department which has been initiating recruitment. Many other departments are also joining the bandwagon of recruitment drive in recent times. The motive behind the recruitment spree while assembly elections are knocking at the door is crystal clear. The ministers are out to earn money for investment in the impending elections. Unless with the urgent permission of Election Commission of India (ECI) transfer and posting of officers, another money making process, is out of question. Hence, the recruitment drive. Once the recruitment process starts, money comes flowing in. If the Election Commission bans the announcement of DPC results, it is all for the better. The families of the candidates are made to compulsorily support the ruling party. Herein lies the anxiety and cause of concern for the opposition parties. While Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi’s suggestion to the state government for cessation of all recruitment process is welcomed, it is not simply enough. As he said, such practices are indirectly related with the abuse of money for election and dilute the free and fair election process; the ECI needs to come down with a heavy hand so as to plug all holes. Or to put in simpler terms, please ban all such recruitment processes.

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