A Salute to the Election Commission of India
   30-May-2019
The Election Commission is to be lauded for the humongous efforts it put in for conducting a free and fair elections for the Lok Sabha. Managing 900 million voters and 10 lakh polling booths with 1.1 crore polling officials and 23 lakh security personnel is no mean task. We as dutiful citizens have to thank the EC Commission for the just concluded polls which were by and large free from violence and large-scale booth capturing.
 Sangeeth Gopala Kini
 

 
The EC has been lauded for its efforts to conduct a free and fair 2019 Lok Sabha Polls 
 
The world’s largest democracy just concluded its greatest national constitutional festival i.e, the general elections for the 17th Lok Sabha. The duration and the magnitude of this election with all its vibrancy and challenges are unmatched. Nowhere in the globe, ever before in the history witnessed such a great democratic activity.
 
With 900 million voters, over 8000 candidates from 2293 political parties, 1.1 crore polling officials, 23 lakh security personnel, over 10 lakh polling booths, 40 lakh EVMS, 17 lakh VVPAT machines, and an estimated over Rs 50,000 crores total expenditure, this election conducted over 39 days across topographically challenging country, with world highest polling booth set up at 15000 ft above sea level, and in the remotest Gir forest, to the Thar desert and the deltas of Sundarbans; this is not just the greatest election ever, but the greatest human activity ever.
 
Now that the elections are over, it would be so ungrateful if we don’t spare a moment to appreciate and thank the three gentlemen – the Election Commissioners of India, Shri Sunil Arora - CEC, Shri Ashok Lavasa - EC and Shri Sushil Chandra - EC for conducting a free and fair elections. This election was probably the most volatile than earlier ones, mainly because the opposition parties did everything possible to wrest back the power whereas the ruling NDA did everything possible to retain the power. There were instances when the leaders crossed the boundary of decency of public discourse. The ECs contained this with the measured restraint and at the same time striking the whip at leaders who went too off the limits.
 
Most importantly, the election process was by and large free from violence and large-scale booth capturing. The advent of Electronic Voting system has greatly invalidated the practice of booth capturing and proxy voting as it was rampant in the earlier decades. Since booth capturing system no more works, the violence also has consequently come down. Barring West Bengal where the goons of a particular party went on a rampage to stop people from voting, and a few sporadic incidences in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Naxal affected Chattisgarh, the election was greatly peaceful. Infact, the way the Election Commission handled the politically volatile West Bengal by spreading the voting dates across all 7 phases with augmented security forces, and even prohibiting campaigning one day earlier than normal for the last phase, the EC ensured everything goes well.
 
I am appalled by the way some of the political parties were making allegations of EVM tampering and fraud before and during the elections. Every minor glitch in any of the EVMs was blown out of proportion to underscore their propaganda that the Election Commission is biased in favour of the ruling BJP and these EVM malfunctioning is to ensure the victory of BJP. I am happy that these EVM allegations have greatly died down post the election results, as the opposition party leaders must have realised that it is not going well with the public as there is no substance in such allegations.
 
Infact, the 20600 VVPAT machines were counted and tallied with the EVM results and not even a single discrepancy between the two were found. In fact, this adds to India’s glory as a nation that consistently conducts free and fair election using technology with utmost accuracy. And, finally, we have a clear majority government as a result of the humongous election process. It would be great ingratitude if we don’t spare a thought to acknowledge and thank the Election commissioners for concluding the largest every human activity in the history of mankind.
 
 
Startling facts about 2019 Lok Sabha Elections
- 900 million voters,
- Over 8000 candidates
- 2293 political parties
- 1.1 crore polling officials
- 23 lakh security personnel
- Over 10 lakh polling booths
- 40 lakh EVMS
- 17 lakh VVPAT machine
- Over Rs 50,000 crores expenditure
- Election conducted over 39 days
- World's highest polling booth at 15000 ft
 
(Author is a writer on current affairs based in Bengaluru)