Should Dr Meinya throw in the towel?

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The electoral battle is over. Yet the dust from the battleground has promised to linger for some more time in the political skyline. The re-poll that was conducted at Thoubal Moijing on April 22 would not be of any help in settling down the dust. The poll percentage of the re-poll has given more fodder to Dr Nara, the Left Secular Alliance candidate for the Inner parliamentary general election, to put more weight, about his allegation to Dr Meinya, the Congress candidate. Dr Nara has argued that the poll percentage of Thoubal Moijing, after the polling, is a testimony of proxy voting that was practiced during the April 17 voting. He said those polling stations that have recorded ninety percent and above poll, is possible only through proxy voting. Besides Dr Nara’s claim, what could turn the table of the battle is the allegation thrown by RK Ranjan, the BJP candidate to the Congress candidate. Dr Meinya has been charged of electoral misconduct. He is alleged of being present inside the Khonghampat 17/7 polling station, under Lamshang Constituency, till the end of the voting on April 17. As per the Election Code of Conduct, a candidate is not entitled to stay inside the polling station beyond a specific time. While inside the polling booth the Congress candidate has purportedly influenced the voters to vote in his favour. He is also charged of openly camping around the polling station on the said day. Thanks to technology, RK Ranjan claims that there is video evidence to prove that Dr Meinya is guilty of electoral misconduct. BJP along with AITC and CPI have geared up to submit a formal complain to the ECI jointly. The ECI might buy some time to look into the matter, as the election is not yet over in other parts of the country. But that should not be an alibi to turn a blind eye to the complaint.  The allegations that are being thrown to the Congress candidate are very serious in nature. He is a MP incumbent; who has served two terms in the UPA led government, representing the Inner Parliamentary Constituency of Manipur. Fairness in electoral conduct is expected from all candidates who are in fray. The guidelines that are framed as the Code of Conduct by the ECI are not merely ‘rules’ for conducting election. It has ethical and moral ramifications which are imbibed with principles that make a democracy thrive, both in practice and philosophy. Awareness and devoutness to the Code of Conduct is expected, even more, from a person who have sat for ten years in Parliament, considered to be the epitome of Indian democracy. If all the allegations that have been charged against him is true, he has no moral right to continue as a representative of the people, even if the election result favour him with the highest number of votes. The kind of misconduct, if it is true, is an electoral offence under Section 123(2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. This is according to the Provisions of Law relating to offences in connection with election, which is laid down as: ‘Whoever voluntarily interferes of attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offence of undue influence in an election’. Undue influence, is mentioned as – any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of the candidate or his agent, or of any other person, with the free exercise of any electoral right, is a corrupt practice that can be agitated in an Election Petition before the High Court. We believe that the kind of dust that has been gathered, post-election, should not be let to sweep away easily. We need insistent value based political clamouring for a change.

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