Even the chief election commissioner (CEC) has admitted that violence has escalated in the fifth phase of the elections. The penultimate round of the union parishad elections have cost another 12 lives, including two chairman candidates, bringing up the figure to more than a 100. If it is regrettable, that the casualty figures have been rising with every phase of elections, even more disappointing is the incapability of the election commission (EC) to stem the violence and irregularities.
It is little comfort for us to hear the CEC say that irregularities have gone down on the other hand. By comparing the latest situation with the four previous rounds of elections he has, in effect, admitted to what the media have been projecting for so long about the widespread and gross irregularities in the election. Even more odious is his rationalisation of violence, ascribing it to the natural inclination of the people. Could he not take lessons from our neighbouring country and the very proactive and instant reaction of its election commission to address similar situation instead of advising the victims to go to the election tribunal?
No explanation can detract from the fact that the EC has failed to give us a good election, that it has not taken lessons from the previous phases in order that remedial measures could be taken to obviate the lacunae and ensure peaceful and fair elections
We have been consistently calling upon the EC to fulfill its obligation to the voters and the candidates without success. We are compelled to say that the EC, by abdicating its duty, is presiding over the destruction of our most valuable democratic institution.