The Election Commission on Thursday declared the dates for the assembly election to be held in Himachal Pradesh. Since the announcement, there has been a lot of criticism and discontent that the commision is facing.
Earlier this week the EC had said that it will be announcing the dates of assembly election in both Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. However, it set the date only Himachal as 9 Nov and said that the elections in Gujarat will be held before 18 Dec.
The Congress blamed the party to have taken the decision of delaying the announcement of dates for Gujarat polls under the pressure of BJP. The EC has deliberately not announced the dates for elections in both the states, giving a massive advantage to the BJP. As after the announcement, the code of conduct will immediately come into practice, as it has in Himachal, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Gujarat on 16 Oct and hence is likely to announce some major development scheme to lure the voters, which could not have been possible after the code of conduct.
BJP MP, Varun Gandhi while delivering a lecture on “Political Reforms in India” at the NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad said that the Election Commission is a toothless tiger, who has never derecognise any political party for not submitting the poll expenditure details within the deadline given. He further added that during the election lot of expenditure is done by the parties during the campaign, which makes it difficult for the people from a humble background to contest elections.
“One of the biggest problems is the problem of the Election Commission which is really a toothless tiger. Article 324 of the Constitution says it (EC) controls and supervises elections. But does it really do that?” Varun said.
During his speech, Varun informed that during the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the budget allocated for the poll panel stood at Rs 594 crore while there are 814 million voters in the country. While in Sweden the budget was almost the double whereas the no of voters is only 7 million.
The BJP leader said, “Technically, an MLA (candidate) can spend between Rs 20 and Rs 28 lakh and an MP (aspirant) Rs 54-Rs 70 lakh. But you are not told that political parties spend unlimited amounts on elections…It is a skewed form of political expenditure which ensures that no middle class or poor people can fight elections anymore”.
Concluding his speech, Varun said that he is optimistic that the political parties will gradually move towards transparency, even if it takes 5 or 10 years.