By Shaik Ismail
Election through Ballot paper:
Voting through ballot paper is considered powerful tool of people in democracy. Hence, it is said that “ballot is powerful than bullet” through which people can exercise their franchise to chose their representative to govern them as per their choice. They may continue or replace their existing representative based on his/her performance in next elections. This prompted the representative governing them to attend to their grievances and fulfil the civic and community needs. Thus, the democracy is termed to be of the people, by the people and for the people.
Role of E.V.M. and it’s devastating effect:
Eversince the ballot is replaced with Electronic Voting Machine (E.V.M.), the trend has changed or reversed. It has become of the party, by the party and for the party (lone B.J.P.). Of course, the main (individual) face of the party is at the helm of affairs. The role of opposition has been curtailed. EVM turned out to be a draconian to the principles of democracy, paving way for autocratic governance. This is what we are witnessing eversince the ruling B.J.P. came to power in Centre in 2014. All the pleas to restore ballot paper and remove EVM by the people and opposition parties did not heed. Approached Court, but in vain. Constitutional institutions like Judiciary, Election Commission have been destabilized. Executive turned out to be pro-capitalists and anti-people. The past glory of the Legislature which is considered the temple of the democracy where issues on behalf of the people are raised and brought to the notice of the government by the opposition is diminished. Where anti-people and pro-capitalists policies are passed now relentlessly thereby shutting the voice of the opposition. Witch-hunt through investigative agencies is being carried out against opposition and the social / human right activists, if questioned. Those who question the Government are harassed and jailed. Not to speak of the last pillar of the democracy i.e. Press and media does not question the power corridors on behalf of people. Consequently, people suffering with large scale un-employment, high inflation, mall nutrition, hunger and health issues; they are deprived of basic civic amenities and their living standards have been fallen. The nation is crippled with the considerable fall-out of GDP and poor economy. Attention of the people is diverted from real issues. The old British doctrine of “Divide and Rule” in pre-independence era is applied to remain in power. Promoted hatred ensuring communal clashes and disharmony among hitherto peaceful living people. Muslim minorities, SCs, STs and weaker sections of the society are targeted, their constitutional rights are erased. They are compelled to live as 2nd grade citizens at the mercy of forward class.
Moved by the plight of the people and the sorry state of affairs in the country, our beloved P.M. is so human that he is rigorously touring foreign countries perhaps, in order to overcome the stress and enjoying luxuries and colours of the world thereby expending billions of rupees at the cost of government exchequer. The achievements if any, made thereof is doubtful. It is said that these trips have improved India’s overseas partners’ awareness of India’s viewpoints on local and international issues. And what image the nation has built-up at international level during the BJP regime at the Centre is well known. No P.M. of the country in the past has made such extensive visits to the foreign nations and with such a huge expenditure at the cost of government exchequer.
Failure of Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections:
Despite of so many fall-outs as a governing party, BJP still emerges victorious in elections after elections obviously not because of the people voted to it but due to manipulation of EVM, the use of which is banned in advanced countries. Seal of EVMs are tampered with disappearance of Polling Officers’ signatures, Un-authorized transportation / replacement / disappearance of EVMs is noticed in contrast to the assurance of Election Commission that EVMs are 100% tampered free. It has utterly failed to ensure free and fair elections. Besides, the role of the Election Commission is entirely found to be doubtful and partial right from the issue of poling schedule to the conduct of elections. Thus, there is no sense in contesting elections either by the parties; or the people exercising their franchise as long as EVM remains there; and the entire process of conduct of elections is merely for the namesake.
Failure of Opposition:
The opposition parties seems to have fallen into the trap of ruling party at the Centre and are pretending to be against the use of E.V.M. If they are so against the use of EVM in elections, they should have unitedly challenged the same in the Supreme Court and pursued it vigorously to it’s logical end; apart from with a caution to the Election Commission to boycott elections if the EVM is not replaced with ballot paper. The opposition seems to have simply playing blame game whenever the elections are conducted.
Muslims participation in voting process:
Various theories are coming to light on the recently concluded Assembly elections in Gujarat, H.P. and M.C.D. elections. We have also witnessed the voting, counting as well as the process of the candidate(s) declared to be won in the earlier Assembly elections in U.P., Bihar, M.P. and other States. Instances of kidnapping, inflicting injuries on Muslim voters by the police in the recently held Rampur Assembly bye-election from U.P. are reported. Muslim women too were not spared. Muslim voters are prevented from voting. Neither the police, administration, election commission nor the court(s) came to their rescue. Of course, now a (private) case is reported to have been filed in Supreme Court, in this regard.
In the given circumstances, is it advisable that the Muslims should exercise their franchise at all, especially when no party is supporting them except using them as their vote bank ? With no exception to the parties which are in existence and said to have formed for the sole welfare of Muslims (including Dalits, Bahujans, etc.) who are said to have been used as B-Team for the ruling B.J.P. in elections. Also in the back-ground of the call given that elections contested are between 80 versus 20; and un-holy pre-pole nexus between parties and E.C. and pre-determined results. By doing so, a clear message will be sent particularly among those who believe that elections are truly between 80 versus 20; that they need not bother for 2024 elections as that 20% will be no more in contest and is wiped out voluntarily thereby ensuring contest from within 80%. And the subsequent election results whatever may be will be of interesting for majoritarian politics putting at rest the blame game on Muslims for every now and then by the hindutva communal party in power. Also it will be a befitting reply to those who are keen to keep Muslims out of voting process by snatching their right to vote. Hope, Muslim intelligentsia, Organizations like Muslim Personal Law Board (M.P.L.B.), Jamiatul Ulema Hind, Jamate Islami, etc. will take a call, unitedly ponder over this, assess the pros and cons and come-out with a strategy in preparation for 2024 elections, keeping in view the above facts and circumstances.
Shaik Ismail cab be reached at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org