If the government had stuck to Seshan's statement, no one would have pointed a finger at the Election Commission today. If the opposition had not criticized, the government would have become Hitler.

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
8 Min Read

New Delhi: Recently, the Election Commission asked the Congress to ensure that its star campaigners do not make statements that send the wrong message. Like the Constitution of India can be abolished or sold. The Election Commission has instructed Congress campaigners and candidates not to politicise the defence forces and not to make divisive statements about the socio-economic condition of the defence forces. The Commission also advised to avoid wrong statements on the government's Agniveer scheme. In fact, while addressing a public meeting in Mahendragarh, Haryana, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said that if the 'Bharat' alliance government is formed at the Centre, then we will throw this scheme in the dustbin.

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Chidambaram said, the opposition has the right to criticize the policies of the government

On this, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that this instruction of the Election Commission is wrong. He wrote in a post on social media, “What does politicization mean? Does ECI mean criticism.”

The opposition has the freedom to criticize under the Model Code of Conduct

Shivaji Shukla, a Delhi-based advocate, says the Model Code of Conduct cannot be implemented under any law passed by Parliament. 'Election offences' and 'corrupt conduct' are considered crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Representation of the People Act, 1951, for which punishment is provided. He said political parties and candidates are advised to avoid commenting on any aspect of the personal life of leaders and workers of other parties. They are only allowed to criticise their policies, programmes, past records and actions.

The opposition keeps the government balanced, otherwise it will meet the same fate as Stalin.

Professor Rajeev Ranjan Giri of Delhi University says that the job of the opposition is to criticize the government and prevent it from becoming one-sided. Hitler became a dictator in Germany only by eliminating the opposition. In Russia, Stalin got them killed through his intelligence agents. The result was only destruction and taking the country into a period of darkness. The opposition and civil rights groups help the ruling party to maintain balance.

If democracy has to be kept alive in India, then institutions like Election Commission, Supreme Court, CBI, ED will have to be given freedom. If even today the governments had followed the words of former Chief Election Commissioner of the country TN Seshan, then no one would have been able to question the impartiality of the Election Commission.

Rajeev Ranjan Giri, Professor, Delhi University

Seshan had suggested keeping CJI in the committee

Rajiv Ranjan Giri says that TN Seshan, who was the Chief Election Commissioner of the country from 1991 to 1996, had suggested that the Chief Justice of the country should also be included in the appointment committee of the Chief Election Commissioner, so that the Election Commission can remain autonomous. Seshan was the person who made both the public and the leaders aware of the power of the Election Commission. Seshan used to say that 'I eat leaders for breakfast.' If the government had stuck to Seshan's words today, neither the autonomy of the commission would have been questioned nor would anyone have doubted the intentions of the government.

Role of Chief Justice in the selection of Chief Election Commissioner

There was a time when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (CJI) was also included in the selection committee. But, in December 2023, a new law was brought by the Central Government. In which the Union Minister was placed in the panel instead of the CJI. Earlier, the Supreme Court had ruled that the Election Commissioners would be selected by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Justice of India.

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Now elections will be held like this, understand the prescribed procedure

According to the new law, the Law Ministry will prepare a list of candidates for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner. It will send these names to a three-member committee headed by the Prime Minister. This committee includes the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and a Union Minister nominated by the Prime Minister as members. The selection committee has the right to recommend the name of the shortlisted candidate or any other candidate. The selection committee will send its recommended names to the President. After that the President will put the final seal on the name of this candidate and the notification will be issued.

Navbharat TimesThe Prime Minister and the Chief Minister were in a tizzy when Seshan snatched a biscuit from Rajiv Gandhi's mouth and said that he eats politicians for breakfast.

It would be better if the election of the Chief Election Commissioner is unopposed.

Talking to a media channel, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi said that the Election Commission should keep its image clean. It should not give anyone a chance to doubt. Even though the PM and cabinet ministers are in the selection committee, the election of the Chief Election Commissioner or Commissioner should be unopposed. This will ensure that the Chief Election Commissioner will be elected with everyone's consent.

The commission is also in the dock for releasing the voting figures

The Election Commission released the final voting data for the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections on April 30, but it has still not released the total number of voters in each constituency. The voting percentage was announced on April 19, 11 days after the first phase of polling, and on April 26, four days after the second phase of voting. According to the Election Commission data, the first phase of polling saw 66.14 per cent polling, while the second phase saw 66.71 per cent voting.

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The commission must take care of its image

Former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi says that the data should have been published within 24 hours of voting, which was happening till 2014. For transparency, it is necessary to have the complete number of voters. But, when problems started arising in this in 2019, it was stopped. The Election Commission should take care of its image.

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