With the Election Commission's scrutiny of nomination papers coming to an end, electioneering is about to enter the next phase, in which eligible candidates will start campaigning in full gusto. And what so far has been a mainly party-centric activity will become more candidate-centric. We feel that several points need to be flagged here.
Firstly, we would like to see peaceful politicking leading up to December 28. In this regard, the administration, particularly the police, has an important role to play. And the political parties, the ruling party mainly, must prevail upon their candidates and their supporters to desist from postures that may provoke violence. Nothing should be done to mar the atmosphere. Law enforcement agencies should also come down heavily against those resorting to violence.
There also remains a concern over a level playing field, or a lack thereof. The fact remains that the ministers and MPs are still holding their offices. One must accept the fact that the “office” and the “flag” do have influence. But they must neither be flaunted nor exploited by the MPs or ministers.
In such a circumstance, the role of the government and the ruling party is highly crucial because they still call the shots. In order to hold a free and fair election, they should ensure that the voters are allowed to choose their candidates without fear or intimidation.
It is important for the administration to rise above any political consideration, particularly those involved in electoral duties. Objectivity and non-partisanship must be reflected in their actions.
Those responsible for holding the elections should be prepared to fend off any violence. But above all, political parties must not abdicate their own responsibilities and jeopardise peace.