EC's Order Shows Power of India's Constitutional Bodies

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), August 10, 2017 | Go to article overview

EC's Order Shows Power of India's Constitutional Bodies


NEW DELHI, Aug. 10 -- It's not often that the Election Commission (EC) burns the midnight oil to resolve a dramatic electoral battle.

On Tuesday, however, it did and in doing so, political experts believe it lay down a milestone for its journey.

The commission dismissed the votes of two Congress defectors, who had reportedly shown their ballot papers to rival BJP leaders during the Gujarat Rajya Sabha by-elections on Tuesday. The decision resulted in a close victory for one of Congress' chief strategists, Ahmed Patel.

N Gopalaswami, former EC chief, compared the role played by the commission on Tuesday to interventions such as when the Congress was divided in 1969 and the symbol distribution of erstwhile Janata Party factions.

Former parliamentary affairs secretary Afzal Amanullah maintained that the panel was a "shining star in the night" and its order scrapping the two votes of Congress rebels shows the power of India's constitutional bodies.

Amanullah pointed out that it was rare for senior leaders such as finance minister Arun Jaitley, P Chidambaram, and law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to rush to the EC to argue a case "related to one seat in one state election".

"The facts speak for themselves. The EC gave a patient hearing. It could have easily asked the parties to only give written memorandum," Gopalaswami told Hindustan Times.

An official working closely with the Aam Aadmi Party government too acknowledged the pivotal role of the EC. …

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