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Time for Election commission to demystify EVM

An ironical, if not anomalous, situation is presented before us—two entities that can only be seen as organically related, being pitted against each other.

Published: 11th May 2017 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2017 12:44 AM   |  A+A-

An ironical, if not anomalous, situation is presented before us—two entities that can only be seen as organically related, being pitted against each other. An Assembly and the Election Commission which oversaw its coming to life in the first place, via a popular poll, using the same tool that is now under a cloud. In democracy, the elected body does have primacy. But it's unfortunate if it sets up a constitutional body—an institution mandated to conduct free and fair elections—in an adversarial role.

Even if there are legitimate questions, such a dramatic portrayal by the AAP government in Delhi can only have a destabilising effect. It’s one thing to carry on in this vein against an L-G, but to extend that belligerence to the EC takes it to an all-new level. Besides the impolitic sight of an Assembly session getting converted into a live demo more suited to a press conference, at a deeper level this can be seen as a new strain of evolution in the system—an anarchic war on the system by a new generation of lawmakers who are either refusing to abide by the niceties and norms of constitutionality or are deficient in their understanding of it.

An Assembly is meant for lawmaking and debates on policies. Can the EVM debate—or an embattled party's allegation against another—qualify? But the EC cannot remain blinkered on the issue. There is a crisis of credibility here and it cannot be met by mere denials. One positive event is that the EC has called a meeting of parties.

It must demystify the machine now, in an easily understandable manner. EVMs did help the EC cut down the long-winded process of ballot counting, but when perceptions gain ground to such an extent that the Supreme Court had to give directions, the EC has to show flexibility. It must allow paper trail corroboration in case of disputes, and reduce the long gap between polling and counting, to make the process appear more transparent—if it does not want an eventual requiem to be sung for the EVM.



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