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ELECTIONS AND EVASIONS

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By HUGH & COLLEEN GANTZER
While the three-member Election Commission has control of the world’s greatest civic decision making event, we went surfing the world-wide web. We sped across the globe, touched down at various points in the past and came up with a 4-dimensional image of Elections. We also examined, in great detail, the amazing way in which India’s first independent government created the world’s most amazing system to enable every adult Indian to choose those who would rule our land. Long before Switzerland gave women the right to vote, our women got it. Adult franchise in India did not rely on riches, property or education. We created Election Symbols so that even those who could not read or write could identify the person of their choice. We pioneered the use of electronic voting machines.
We also placed the entire voting process in the hands of our Election Commission. The EC was empowered to impose its Model Code of Conduct on the entire Election process. All this was done just before we became the Republic of India. In other words, the day before we deprived the British Monarch of the right to call himself an Emperor, we established the firm framework of a system of governance of the people, by the people and for the people. And if you do not want to acknowledge the roles of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and their team then you are free to writhe in your own spite while we move on to other bright realities.
The greatest reality is the Model Code of Conduct. It is a set of principles laid down to ensure the free and fair conduct of our Elections. At this stage we took wings to fly down the corridors of time and see how things have been in other segments of history and in other places. We soared to Rome where a group of magnificently robed prelates sat in conclave to push through a decision which conferred the right on their leader to dictate certain terms to the rest of the world. Their leader was given the right to impose his will on the rest of the followers of the Cross. The doctrine of Infallibility accepted by Catholic Christians was rejected by Orthodox and other Christians. No individual can claim to be a Vishwa Guru. Inevitably, a large number of former followers broke away from this new claim and called themselves Orthodox Christians.
In a scenario which has been repeated in modern times Leaders who disagreed were jailed. We need mention only the name of Alexei Navalny. We need not mention the names of others who have been jailed for similar defiance and have been subjected to similar depredations.
Now in our flight through time and space to an earlier India and find that the Model Code of Conduct is being treated as if it was the Moral Code of Conduct. A model is a pattern, a template which ensures that the original form and structure is replicated.  A moral is far more flexible and it shifts its shape depending on the needs of the time. Same gender sexal relationships were forbidden when the Indian Penal Code was written.  Same sex marriages are now accepted. We must now treat the word MODEL as MORAL and judge political statements on their MORAL Values. Their current impact on the social fabric of the country and not on the bare Dictionary definition of the word. But did that mean that the system of choosing the Election Commissioners could be placed securely in the hands of Elected Representatives?
THE CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER AND OTHER ELECTION COMISSIONERS (APPOINTMENT, CONDITIONS OF SERVICE AND TERM OF OFFICE BILL 203) WAS INTRODUCED IN THE RAJYA SABHA ON THURSDAY BY UNION LAW MINISTER ARJUN RAM MEGHWAL EVEN AS OPPOSITION PARTIES CLAIMED IT WOULD DESTROY THE CONSTITUTIONAL INDEPENDENCE OF THE ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA.
The Election Commission of India is every citizen’s Court of Last Resort to ensure that political skulduggery does not overtake the governance of our land. If this safeguard is compromised and placed in the hands of politicians who care little for principles then we are looking at a very bleak future. All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Or just perhaps the Wheel of Dharma having reached its lowest point will now start ascending again.

(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first[1]person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command. Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel Agents Association of India.) (The opinions and thoughts expressed here reflect only the authors’ views!).