Time for introspection
Let us face the truth.
The election laws were broken by almost all candidates. No
amount of appeals by the Elections Commissioner or the IGP or
the media could stop the politicians trampling the law with
Now that the campaign is over and no further damage could be
done it would be advisable for the politicians to make a little
bit of introspection. What lessons would others draw from their
example? The politician could excuse himself on the grounds that
they had done or were planning to do yeoman service to the
country as Members of Parliament and hence a little breach of
law would not matter much. The fault of this line of thinking is
Following the example of the politicians what would happen if
others follow suit? If motorists plead that in view of the fact
that they have a license to use the roads and that they have
paid all dues to the Government a little breach of traffic is
nothing, could they also escape with impunity?
The same sort of argument could be given by the businessmen
in case of a breach of customs law. They could claim that they
are contributing to the country’s GDP and bringing new
technology etc, and hence minor custom frauds may be excused in
the name of development.
This argument could be carried on and infinitum. What would
be the result if all could break the law with impunity? There
won’t be law and order. Anarchy would reign. The social fabric
would burst asunder.
It is often said, mostly by politicians that everybody is
equal before the law. It may be a theoretical hypothesis. In
actual practice, it is not so. The glaring example was the way
in which all politicians could break the law with impunity. Even
there were differing levels of impunity as well as different
levels of compliance with the law.
In the long-term interests of society it is necessary to
respect the law. Either you have the law and obey it or you do
away with the law. It is up to the politicians to take a
decision in the next legislature. After all they are the
The law was broken not only in regard to display of publicity
materials, there was also open distribution of goodies which
could be claimed as bribing the voters. Of course, diverse
ingenious methods were used for the purpose but that does not
reduce the gravity of the offence.
The law was brought with good intentions and with specific
objectives in mind. The legislators who framed and passed the
law were going by past experience and wanted to prevent those
with more money power gaining an undue influence over voters.
There was also a necessity to reduce incidents of violence.
The time has come for a still stricter formulation of laws
with reference to campaigning. Loopholes in the existing law
should be plugged.
However, no law would be effective if the politicians do not
respect them and if law enforcement officers are pressurized by
politicians. Political parties should also critically examine
their conduct and change their behaviour. The earlier this is
done, the better.
As one of our columnists had pointed out the posters used for
the campaign had devoured hundreds of thousands of trees for
their production. It was a colossal environmental disaster. The
extra largeness of the electorates had also given rise to a
tremendous usage of fuel and other scarce and foreign-exchange
consuming resources. The loss to the economy would be much
larger if all related factors are taken into account.
A sorcerer (kattandiya) is supposed to be in the fray for
tomorrow’s poll. Without prejudice to his chances at the poll,
it would be interesting to foresee how his presence in the House
would affect its proceedings.
If he is in the Opposition he could convert a minority into a
majority for his party by performing his magic or hooniyan to
disable the Government ranks either by paralyzing the limbs or
brains of its members. If he is in the Governing side he could
disable the Opposition the same way.
Perhaps the party would have given nominations to him to
prevent crossovers. Having a kattandiya in the ranks is more
powerful than getting letters of resignation. A loyal Kattandiya
could send all those deserters to the next world through his
A question that should be asked naturally is whether he would
give up his profession on being elected. To do so would be a
folly since payment for his professional services now far exceed
the salaries and perks of MPs. Perhaps the party would have
decided to use his professional services in the House to lure
their opponents to come begging for admission to the party he
belongs to. And turn the tables on the Government as there is no
other way for it to come to power.