It is heartening to see that finally the Election Commission has punished those who have made elections in this country a mockery. Taking advantage of a lenient EC, leaders for a long time were trying to secure votes inciting caste, creed and religion. Though not all of them have been punished, it can be expected that others will learn a lesson from it and restrain themselves on political issues while canvassing for votes.
So far, the Election Commission has punished four political heavyweights. Namely, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, BSP leader Mayawati, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and Samajwadi Party leader Md. Azam Khan. Out of these four, Adityanath and Md. Azam are habitual offenders. Be it election time or not, these two are in the habit of crating disturbances through their utterances. Many cases of hate speech are pending against them. But they are incorrigible. As a matter of fact, political careers of these two leaders are heavily dependent on hate speeches. More often than not, these two leaders make their own community ashamed. Yet, they have been and continue to go on with their respective political agendas for years.
Indian politicians remember the Constitution only when they become people’s representatives. But that is for taking oath only. The moment oath taking ceremony is over the leaders go back to the real agenda of dividing people in any manner possible to remain in power. So even after applauding the Election Commission, it should be mentioned that banning them from campaigning for a couple of days is not enough punishment. Along with banning them, they should also be told in no uncertain terms that if they fail to honour India’s plurality, they would be barred from politics. People may have forgotten, but the fact remains that in late nineties Shiv Sena founder was punished for hate speech and his voting right was withheld for six years. It is a different story that his punishment was curtailed midway and he managed to vote in 2004 general elections. It would have been better if Adityanath and Azam were punished in the same way. Anyway, it should be admitted that finally after wasting a lot of time, a beginning has been made.
Here, the role of the Supreme Court has to also be mentioned. In fact, it was the Supreme Court which directed the Election Commission to exercise its power. Moreover, the highest court refused to entertain Mayawati’s plea against the ban on campaigning. So on behalf of the citizens an appeal should be made to the top court to ask the Election Commission to punish each and everyone who has violated Model Code of Conduct. No need to rely of the leaders’ versions. These days enough evidence is available through CCTV cameras and phone recordings. Examine those and punish the guilty. That should be regarded as true nationalism as that can only strengthen India democracy. If Election Commission can show courage, Indian politics will be free from the clutches of power brokers. So keep up the good work.