Panchayat Polls 2018: Is Muscle-power giving way to Money-power in elections?

HARISH MONGA DIDO – Freelance
India is known where the world’s largest democratic elections are conducted.  While many of negative forces in the country had already weakened the democratic structure and sometimes, a person like me fail to understand as to where the aspirations of our freedom fighters who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of country from colonial rule had gone.
Come elections and it looks that the foreign domination has been replaced with the Muscle-power and Money-power.  It also gives the impression that all this swept away everything that Gandhi – Father of the Nation, stood for when he said, “I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong.”
Coming to the recent elections being held in Punjab – Panchayat Polls on December 30, 2018, and the claims are being made that all preparations are complete by the Punjab State Election Commission -PSEC.  Booth level meetings are also being held following the directions of the PSEC, to maintain law and order, peaceful atmosphere, so that there is no untoward incident during the course of elections.  But what has happened in the few days right from the announcement to the last day of filing of nomination papers, with the registration of cases over disputes between the two groups and classes, against the known persons and unidentified – said to be anti-social elements, have shaken the people of Punjab.
Due to clashes between two groups, non-availability of no objections certificates from the concerned block development and panchayat officers – a mandatory document to be attached at the time of filing of nomination and raising of fingers at the district administrative and police officers, for targeting the candidates aspirant for the election irrespective of any political parties but with majority of from the opposition parties.  No doubt this practice is coming during any ruling party but it has definitely become a part of muscle and money power.
Not only this, there is a violation of the instructions even for depositing of the weapons and both civil and police administration don’t look to be serious.
Taking the case of one district Ferozepur, there are around 25,621 arms holds but despite making an appeal in orders, only 6079 have deposited, which comes to only 18 per cent, with the police stations or arms dealers while rest of the holders are mum over the issue. As per the sources, there is also no further move with regarding deposits of weapons, though police is taking all measures to deploy the forces at all the sensitive booths even after the unanimous and unopposed declaration of the candidates.
 Political experts are of the view that the manner in which there was use of open arms in the earlier elections of  Zila Parishad and Block Samiti and during the panchayat elections, there is a fear among the people of repeating the same especially when incidents of firing have come on surface and the injured were deposited in the local hospitals and certain were referred to the medical colleges in view of their serious conditions.
Punjab is not the only state, it is almost throughout the country that during the elections, there are clashes, stone-pelting, murders, charges, counter-charges and what not and the whole system seem to be traumatized.
Punjab is not the only state, it is almost throughout the country that during the elections, there are clashes, stone-pelting, murders, charges, counter-charges and what not and the whole system seem to be traumatized.
In such circumstances, the responsibility of the civil and police administration increase to maintain law and order for the peaceful conduct of the elections over the equally distressing powers – Muscle and Money. Only the time will tell when only six days are left for the Panchayat Polls.
To conclude, a possible solution may lie with the Election Commission to hammer out a solution to exclude all candidates in the elections with criminal antecedents and those who don’t deposit the weapon they are holding from being nominated as candidates by the political parties.
January 2019
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