Dear Honorable Sunil Arora and Honorable Sudeep Jain (West Bengal in Charge)
The violence in West Bengal elections is unprecedented. The recent firm actions by ECI in West Bengal though late in coming is recognition of the degree and extent of violence. Given the situation there, where voters and even polling agents are threatened and terrorized of consequences once the Central forces leave, it is imperative that Central forces are kept for some time in sensitive areas and ECI continues to monitor the situation even after the voting process completes.
Constitution of India entrusted ECI to conduct free and fair elections to every adult citizen of the country. ‘Free’ means a voter’s ability to exercise their choice without fear. ECI responsibility does not end with the completion of voting if sections or groups of voters are terrorized of consequences if a candidate does not win. Once such fear is ingrained, voters will not be able to exercise their choice freely in future elections. Given this situation, ECI has the responsibility to monitor the situation for some time and ensure no intimidation or violence occurs on groups/sections of voters.
Also, ECI needs to ensure the investigation of murders during elections are being held. Since there is concrete evidence these crimes are perpetrated with the administration looking another way, such cases need to be handed over to central agencies like CBI.
ECI should not allow any more mockery of the elections process and make an act of violence and intimidation accountable.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.