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Elections in India: Free and Fair

Project submitted by: Mahua Dutta

Project submitted to: Mrs. Alka Mehta

Semester I, BA. LL.B. (Hons.)

(Faculty of English)

Section A
Roll No. 93

Subject: English

Submitted on: 25.08.2015

Hidayatullah National Law University

New Raipur, Chhattisgarh


I Mahua Dutta, hereby declare that, the project work entitled, India has
Free and Fair elections? submitted to H.N.L.U., Raipur is record of an original
work done by me under the guidance of, Mrs. Alka Mehta mam (Faculty: English),
H.N.L.U., Raipur.

Name: Mahua Dutta

Roll No. : 93
Semester: I
Section: A


I feel highly elated to work on the topic Elections in India: Free and fair. I express my
deepest regard and gratitude for our Faculty of English. Her consistent supervision, constant
inspiration and invaluable guidance have been of immense help in understanding and carrying
out the importance of the project report.
I also want to thank the University for providing free and unlimited use of internet and
the well-stocked library which played a very important role in completion of this project.
I want to thank the Respected Vice Chancellor of the University for giving us the
opportunity of being a part of this institution.


Elections are a defining characteristic of democracy, and thus form an integral part of the
democratization process. Independent India is only 68 years old. But, among all the countries
newly liberated from the colonial yoke, India alone has earned the singular distinction of not
only being the worlds largest functioning, effective democracy but also of setting an example by
conducting as many as twelve free and fair elections at the national, and more than 300, at the
state level. Viewed from any aspect, political, social or psychological, elections in India, whether
at the national or state levels, have invariably been a fascinating story. Successive elections have
both enhanced and deepened the peoples commitment to democracy.
Each election has also exposed certain inherent weaknesses and inadequacies of the
electoral system, The perception that an election has not been free, fair and credible develops
where there is fraud, violence and intimidation at any of the stages critical to the electoral
process. It can also be undermined if the process is chaotic and poorly organized leaving large
numbers of voters disenfranchised and confused about the process, issues and candidates.
The role of media in elections is indispensible. No doubt the Media has over the years played a
crucial role in safeguarding the democratic rights of the people by educating and informing
voters about their electoral duties. But its power to influence public opinion has, of late, also
encouraged its blatant misuse by parties and candidates, who connived with obliging editors and
media house owners to encourage paid news.
Our election commission has always tried to make rules which can help in conducting
free and fair elections and also there has been many changes made from time to time on our
electoral system, yet there were no significant and substantial reforms brought about.

Table of Contents

Research Methodology









Elections in India: A fascinating story ............................................


Indian elections: corruption and logistics ..........................................


Fairness of Indian elections ...............................................................


Modern day rigging



Are Electronic Voting Machines above suspicion? ...........................


Elements of unfair elections




Discrepancies in 2009 General Elections ..........................................


Discrepancies in 2014 General Elections ..........................................








Dutta |1

Research Methodology
The project is based on research from secondary sources, mainly books and web pages. I
owe my sincere gratitude to the respected faculty of English and the well-stocked library of the
The content of this project is not copied from any source other than the citations provided
and is purely genuine and authentic and is a result of extensive research

The broad objective of this project is to study Indian election system and analyse its
fairness. The specific objective of the study is to
1. Effects of corruption on fairness of elections.
2. Poll violation in India during elections.
3. Various factors leading to unfair election.
4. To study in detail discrepancies in General Elections.

Dutta |2

When Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru declared India as an independent democratic country in his
Tryst with Destiny speech in the midnight of 14 th August 1947, the whole world looked at
India in askance. In spite of Pt. Nehrus strong belief in democratic norms, the road to democracy
in India was not smooth. The modern democratic institutions were not allowed to be functioned
effectively in British-India. The representative democracy, as envisaged in the Constitution of
India, was to be the new experience for majority of Indians. Thus there were lots of apprehensions
about the future of democracy in newly independent India, which declared itself as sovereign,
democratic and republic. Democratic in the sense that a government is elected through free and
competitive elections based on adult suffrage.

The largest electoral exercise in the world by far is elections in India as it makes close to
one billion people exercise their franchise. The results of the elections in India have a bearing on
the lives of 1.25 billion people. The whole world takes a keen interest when the elections are
underway in the worlds largest democracy. Therefore, there has to be a platform where the
electors of this country could find ample information and fodder for considering both attenuating
and extenuating factors contributing to the formation of the government in India. Elections. In is
committed to help people, right from a layman to the most erudite member of any community, to
get all the past, present and intended information related to politics and elections at a single

Dutta |3

Elections in India: A Fascinating Story

India is not only the worlds largest democracy. It is also enormous in population and
area and diverse in language, religion, and class, with a spirited press, concentrations of great
wealth, a large number of poor and illiterate voters, and a long history of political violence. The
Election Commission is charged with the daunting task of ensuring that Indias federal elections
are free, fair, and peaceful.
The very fact that as a people, Indians renew their faith in the power of the vote through
successive peaceful and fair polls is testimony to their entrenched belief in the efficacy of the
democratic system. This is the reason why, notwithstanding the huge expenditure involved in the
exercise, which a poor and developing country like India can ill afford, elections are regarded not
as a luxury but as an essential component of democracy.
Viewed from any aspect, political, social or psychological, elections in India, whether at
the national or state levels, have invariably been a fascinating story. Politically, these have
contributed immensely to national cohesion and the growth of democratic temper. Socially, these
have been a great equalizer, offering identical opportunities for exercising choice to the entire
electorate - poor or rich, rural or urban, educated or illiterate, skilled or unskilled, male or
female. Psychologically, their outcome has mirrored the complexities of the worlds largest
democracy and helped to provide the most reliable insight into the voting behavior of the
population and the factors which influence its choice. Administratively, these have posed
formidable challenges in sheer organization and logistics which no other democracy in the world
has to contend with. And, above all, news-wise, there is possibly no other single event relating to
India which offers greater interest, excitement and thrill.

Dutta |4

Independent India is only 68 years old. But, among all the countries newly liberated from
the colonial yoke, India alone has earned the singular distinction of not only being the worlds
largest functioning, effective democracy but also of setting an example by conducting as many as
twelve free and fair elections at the national, and more than 300, at the state level. , elections
have become a way of life and an exercise of faith for the Indian masses. Successive elections
have both enhanced and deepened the peoples commitment to democracy. They have also made
the Indian voter fully conscious of the value of his vote and the power of the ballot as the most
potent instrument of change. Compared to the simple voter of 1952, when the first general
elections were held, the voter of 1999, who will witness the thirteenth, is far more discerning,
sophisticated, alert and politically aware. He knows his mind, and he is mindful of his own and
the countrys interests.
Each election has also exposed certain inherent weaknesses and inadequacies of the
electoral system, thus helping to highlight the imperative of constant systematic reform and
refinements through amendments to the Peoples Representation Act enacted by Parliament in

Indian elections: corruption and logistics

Every time it runs an Indian general election, the Election Commission (EC) has to
manage the largest democratic exercise in history. This time it will have dealt with up to 825m
voters by the time ballots were counted on May 16, and the EC is understandably proud of its
logistical efficiency and of its record of ensuring free and fair procedures on the days that people
What the electoral authorities cannot guarantee, officials sadly admit, is the probity of
politicians during the campaign or after they are elected. Many of these politicians will do
everything possible with money and muscle-power to ensure victory and undermine the very
notion of fairness regardless of spending limits monitored by the EC and of the model code of
conduct endorsed by political parties.

Dutta |5

The logistical statistics are certainly awe-inspiring. H.S. Brahma, one of the election
commissioners, reminded business leaders this week that EC staff have to organize 1m polling
stations at altitudes ranging from 16,000 feet in the Himalayas to sea level on the coast, in
temperatures between minus 10 and plus 48 degrees centigrade.
R. Balakrishnan, a deputy commissioner, said at the ECs headquarters in New Delhi that one of
the biggest challenges was planning the calendar so that voting days clashed neither with local
festivals nor with school examinations: school buildings are often used as polling stations, and
teachers often supervise the voting.
Too many variables are there, Balakrishnan said. You have to plan, taking all these
variables into consideration.
Last years voting, on nine separate days in different districts over five weeks between
April 7 and May 12, will require the deployment of more than 10m people including troops and
police for security and 1.4m electronic voting machines.
Some people go by foot, some people go by boat, some people go by elephant, some people go
by helicopter, Brahma told this weeks annual conference of the Confederation of Indian
Industry (although his colleagues later said they did not think elephants would be used this time).
Its one of the biggest event management [operations] of the country. This entire operation of
35 days or 45 days does not allow a single instance of a mistake.
Brahma, however, went on to lament the darker side of this festival of democracy. Of the
1,600 political parties registered with the EC, only 80 or 90 were active in politics. Most of the
rest had really been established by jewelry traders and other entrepreneurs for the purposes of tax
evasion. Its for income tax exemption, he said.
It gets worse. He told the story of a candidate whom he did not name who had come
to see him 10 days earlier to complain about the campaign spending limit of Rs7m per candidate.
This man had declared he would fight with a minimum of Rs350m, and knew of another
candidate who would spend Rs1bn.

Dutta |6

The more the muscle you have, the more the money you have, the more the chance of
winning, Brahma said. The election is a big opportunity for a huge amount of underhand
Coming from one of the three election commissioners, that is quite an admission of how
far India has to go before its elections can truly be said to be free and fair

Fairness of Indian Elections

The Election Commission would like to have you believe that poll rigging and booth capturing
are history. But this election has seen plenty o Is the electoral process in India truly free and fair? Given
that polling proceeds peacefully in most of the country despite the overwhelming logistics of exercise,
that's largely true. In fact, the Election Commission wants India's 814 million voters to believe that
polling is entirely controversy-free.
Booth capturing and other poll violations are history, said SY Quraishi, former chief election
commissioner of India, as he listed for Scroll. in a slew of measures that the EC has been taking over the
past decade to ensure smooth elections. Before the polls, through vulnerability mappings, we ensure that
suspicious characters are arrested in advance, pending non-bail able warrants are executed and legal and
illegal arms are deposited with the police, he said. During the polls, paramilitary forces are deployed
throughout the country, cameras are placed at all booths and if there is any suspicion or complaint of
unfair polling, each case is looked into and a re-poll is ordered.

However, the headlines emerging from election coverage across the country tell a slightly
different story. For one, booth capturing is evidently not history. There have been complaints of proxy
voting and voter turnouts greater than 100%. There are thousands of complaints about names missing
from the voters list, which some voters suspect might be politically motivated. In several cases, reelections have already been conducted.

Dutta |7

What is true, though, is that these violations have been brought to light by the EC's staff and
cameras, which has allowed them to be dealt with swiftly.
Here are some of the poll violations India has seen during the ongoing general election 2014.

Uttar Pradesh: This week, the EC announced re-polling at five centers in UPs Firozabad and
Etawah constituencies, after receiving several complaints about booth capturing, bogus voting
and intimidation of voters. The constituencies happen to be Samajwadi Party strongholds, and
Bharatiya Janata party candidate VK Singh alleged on April 10 that SP workers had threatened
his booth agent in Ghaziabad.
Meanwhile in Rampur, where polling was held on April 17, police arrested two
miscreants for booth capturing. The two were allegedly part of a larger group of 30 to 40 people
who took over the polling centre and voted at the booths themselves. Last week, the EC declared
the voting at those poll centers null and void.

Assam: The Guwahati Lok Sabha constituency had to have a re-election after a team of polling
officials were caught rigging the exercise. At one booth, a village defense party member Bimal
Boro could be seen on CCTV camera accompanying voters right up to the voting machine and
guiding them as they voted. After a local news channel aired the footage, the whole polling













Nagaland: More than 40 polling stations in Nagaland, which voted on April 9, recorded a voter
turnout of more than 100%. At many booths, the turnout was more than 90%. On April 24, armed
with video clips and photographs, local Congress leaders filed a complaint with the chief election
commissioner alleging proxy voting and poll rigging in about 1,000 of the states 2,049 polling
stations. The ruling party, Naga Peoples Front, has

dismissed these allegations.

Dutta |8

Haryana: Although the Mewat district in Haryana saw a 78% voter turnout, very few residents
had inked fingers to display after voting on April 10. There have been widespread allegations of
booth capturing, poll rigging, bogus voting and of voters particularly women and dalits being
prevented from entering poll booths by local goons. Most of this allegedly took place with the
complicity of the police and polling staff. The EC is now studying these cases, although Mewat
locals claim such violations have been common practice in the region during every election.

Maharashtra: Newspapers reported widely on Instances of names going missing from the
voters list in Mumbai, but there is still no conclusive figure of how many eligible voters could
not cast their votes on April 24. While some reports say thousands found their names deleted, others
claim up to 200,000 Mumbaiites were denied the chance to vote. Across the state, six million voters are
said to have been taken off the list. Pune, which voted on April 17, also saw complaints of mass deletions
from the voters list. Although a preliminary report from the Pune collectors office revealed that only
1,200 of the deletions were genuine cases, the furor around the missing names forced election
commissioner HS Brahma to apologies to voters in Mumbai and Pune.

Rajasthan: the Times of India reported multiple instances of proxy voting in Dausa, Rajasthan, where
poll officials are said to have accompanied voters into the polling booth, pressing the button for them.
They were seen to be doing this largely for illiterate women who did not know how to operate the EVM.

Odisha: In Odishas Kendrapada district, too, TV footage of a polling booth showed a man assisting
women voters to press a button on the EVM, while a polling official looked on. The official was
suspended and other polling officers and agents at the centre are also being probed.

Madhya Pradesh: When several constituencies went to the polls on April 17, two reports of booth
capturing were reported. Miscreants from the Chambal valley allegedly took over two polling centers in

Dutta |9

Sagar constituency, cast several votes and threatened poll officials. The police are yet to trace the
absconding poll violators.

Jharkhand: Dalits attempting to cast their votes in Gardih village in Koderma constituency on April 10
were allegedly beaten up by upper-caste Bhumihars. The dalit were attempting to vote for the Communist
Party of India (MarxistLeninist) while the Bhumihars were BJP supporters

Modern Day rigging 1

I am not talking of bogus voting, though that has also taken place and even shown in
media and is known to people. Modern day election rigging is different than what we witnessed
in past when booths were captured and few persons were casting entire votes on gun point. Now,
the call center era is in, where big political parties hire paid trolls to do Photoshop, distort
facts in their favor, pay the media to alter poll survey, confuse voters in booth polls by
various tricks, shadow candidates to offset few hundreds to thousands votes in the name of
caste/religion and even do bogus voting in favor of their masters. I must add, Rs 300-500
and liquor is distributed among poor voters to cast their votes to the desired candidates and
that is very effective. The last method is used widely to get crowd to listen to their loved

Are Electronic Voting Machines above Suspicion? 2

Consider these facts:

In last years general election, people of Kendrapada in Odisha hit the streets and staged
demonstrations after the seizure of 28 EVMs from outside the residence of a government
official. The BJP accused the authorities of attempting to tamper with the machines.

1 www,

D u t t a | 10

50 dummy EVMs, displaying ruling Biju Janata Dals election symbol Conch, were
seized from a jeep in Kantamal Assembly constituency in Odisha, in April last year.

The EC had to order a repoll at four booths spread across three Lok Sabha constituencies
in Maharashtra because of non-clearance of votes cast during mock polls which
resulted in the EVMs showing more votes cast than the actual number.

Indeed, the above instances of irregularities could be brought to light and promptly
addressed. Yet they hint at a larger question: Are EVMs above suspicion of poll rigging?
Actually the problems with EVM security are well known particularly after the large-scale
irregularities in Florida during the 2000 US elections. Countries such as the Netherlands, Ireland
and Germany have scrapped them and gone back to paper ballots.

In fact during 2009 general election itself, concerns were raised over the reliability of
EVMs when it was discovered that the files on the EC website displayed election results days
before votes were actually cast and counted. A team of IT specialists, thereafter, used an actual
Indian EVM to demonstrate two ways they could be hacked and subsequently the Supreme Court
of India passed a ruling that the Indian EVMs would at least have to prove a paper trail.
However, it is a huge task and only eight of 543 constituencies in this election had a Vote Verifier
Paper Audit Trail system.

Elements of unfair elections

Fake Votes:
Now consider these facts:

D u t t a | 11

A television sting operation in Gurgaon last year exposed how the Booth Level Officers
(BLOs) and agents were hand in gloves to make multiple voter IDs on a single voters
photograph so as to facilitate fake and bogus voting.

The same sting operation showed an agent saying that the election ink removers were
available in open market.

3 poll officials were arrested after the sting operation.

The whole incident exposes the prevalent malpractices and it would be nave to assume

that these were isolated cases of corrupt election practices.

Corrupt Practices to Lure Voters:

`Reports suggest that thousands of crore of unaccounted money was used to lure the voters and

that the EC can do little because the money is distributed clandestinely. The purchase of vote is
at the individual level and there are hundreds employed by political parties in the name of
bandobast for this nefarious activity in every constituency. Unless the political parties get into
self regulation, can this poll malpractice be ever checked?

Missing Voters Names in the List3:

Over six million voters failed to cast their vote in Maharashtra this time as their names
were missing from the voters list. While the EC could only tender an apology for the lapse,
doesnt the way political parties hammered each other on the issue, suggest a larger political

Silent Booth Capturing

Attempts were made this election to create fear in the minds of the enforcing agencies. A
case in point is the attack on Marshaghai BDO Sushanta Pati in Odisha this elections. The

D u t t a | 12

Odisha Administrative Service Officers Association did condemn the assault but also threatened
that it would not take part in any poll related activities if the government failed to take action
against the assaulters.
Moreover, incidents of an innovative Silent booth capturing came to light in West
Bengal and UP when the BJP on May 5, raised this issue with the EC. It claimed that agents of
Opposition parties were threatened and turned away from booths since the Central forces were
being used for non-election purposes, and the local police and home guards were managing
polling booths.

Paid Media
Consider these facts:

The unaccounted advertisements dressing up as news were estimated to be worth 50

billion rupees per month in the 2009 general election.

A sting operation earlier this year by a private news channel exposed a leading opinion
poll agency and reveals how opinion polls are misleading the people and running the

In April this year, the EC warned the media houses against telecasting or publishing exit
polls by showing them as opinion polls.

In all 694 cases of paid news (which are published as news but are advertisement in
nature for which the media organisations charge money) were detected in this election.

No doubt the Media has over the years played a crucial role in safeguarding the democratic
rights of the people by educating and informing voters about their electoral duties. But its power
to influence public opinion has, of late, also encouraged its blatant misuse by parties and
candidates, who connived with obliging editors and media house owners to encourage paid news.
This came to light during elections in 2004 and 2009. Today, it is a major challenge in the way of
fair elections because on one hand it provides wealthier candidates with an edge over other

D u t t a | 13

candidates, on the other it defeats the very principle of fair elections by denying equal
opportunity to other candidates. The EC does have some powers to deal with the problem of paid
news. However, the measures and guidelines are not enough as the media houses or publications
are beyond the ECs purview and it can only forward these cases to the Press Council of India
and the News Broadcasting Standards Association.

D u t t a | 14

Discrepancy in 2009 General Elections

SP workers booked for alleged booth capturing4

MANIPUR: One hundred and twenty five supporters of the Samajwadi Party have been booked

for allegedly attempting to capture two booths during repolling in the Manipuri Parliamentary
The repolling at the two booths had been ordered after complaints of irregularities in
polling. Reports suggest that during repolling, some local residents had a scuffle with the police.
Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting from Manipur.

Earlier, the Chief Development Officer of Manipur B B Singh had said that repolling was
ordered late evening at booth number 227 and 228 at Parsana polling station in the Jaswantnagar
assembly segment of the Manipur Lok Sabha constituency.

Singh said that the decision was taken after complaints from the Samajwadi Party that
Bahujan Samaj Party workers captured the booths during the voting.

4 India | Press Trust of India | Updated: May 12, 2009 17:18 IST

D u t t a | 15

Discrepancy in General Election 2014

Re-polling in five booths in Uttar Pradesh5

LUCKNOW: Re-polling was held at five polling stations of Firozabad and Etawah Lok Sabha
constituencies as the Election Commission (EC) has received complaints about booth capturing
and intimidation during the election.

Several complaints were sent to the poll panel about bogus voting and booth capturing
during the election, especially in the belt of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Following the complaints, the Election Commission has sent observers to assess the
situation in the constituencies. The EC observers in their report have confirmed about illegal
means of voting at booth no. 160, 161 and another polling booth in Sirsaganj legislative
assembly of Firozabad from where Akshay Yadav, nephew of the SP chief is contesting the
Re-poll was recommended for booth no. 10, 14 in Dibiyapur assembly segment in
Etawah, the native place of the SP chief. Sources told IANS that the EC has taken a grim view of
these incidents. "In times of the EVMs, such incidents are very unfortunate," said an official.

Officials also said the fact that these incidents, including an earlier one, where re-poll
was held at some booths after the second phase of election in Rampur Lok Sabha constituency,
the stronghold of another SP minister Azam Khan, "has put the SP in bad light".

5 Election News | Indo-Asian News Service | Updated: April 26, 2014 11:49 IST

D u t t a | 16

Opposition parties accused the ruling SP of indulging in such illegal means.

"What else justifies the fact that all such incidents have taken place in the areas touted to be
pocket boroughs of the SP and the Yadav clan," questioned Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state
spokesman of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Uttar Pradesh former chief minister and Bahujan Samaj
Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has twice in the past has aired her apprehension that the SP chief
could rig the polls.

"I am informed that the SP knows its fate in the general election and can resort to
anything...I therefore urge the EC to take note of the situation and ensure deployment of more
paramilitary forces in the remaining phases of polls in the state," she said.

EVM that 'votes' only for BJP stuns poll staff in Assam6
GUWAHATI: An electronic voting machine raised many eyebrows across the state during a
mandatory mock poll in Jorhat on Tuesday. Every time a button was pressed, the vote went in
favour of BJP.

The Jorhat parliamentary constituency returning officer and deputy commissioner Vishal
Vasant Solanki told TOI that all EVMs in his custody are being put through a second level of test
by engineers of the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), one of the two companies from
Hyderabad, which manufactures EVMs.
This Jorhat Lok Sabha seat has Congress stalwart and former Union minister Bijoy
Krishna Handique locking horns with BJP youth and tea tribal leader Kamakhya Tasa. This will
be Handique's record seventh successive attempt for the Lok Sabha election. Jorhat goes to the
polls on April 7.
State chief electoral officer Vijyandra on Wednesday said, "An EVM in Jorhat was found
malfunctioning yesterday. It is a defective machine and it was noticed when EVMs were readied
6 Prabin Kalita, TNN | Apr 3, 2014, 05.30 AM IST

D u t t a | 17

in front of representatives of all political parties. We will not send the faulty unit to any polling
An EVM consists of two units, a control unit and a balloting unit. Both unites are
connected with cable. The balloting unit is a small box-like device, on top of which each
candidate and his or her election symbol appears. The voter selects his candidate by pressing the
blue button.
The returning officer said, "These EVMs were here for long. Usually, EVMs are kept in
the custody of the deputy commissioner and during elections they are taken to strong rooms."
Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India on Wednesday and
demanded thorough inspection of all EVMs in just not Jorhat, but the entire state. Pradesh
Congress Committee general secretary Ranjan Bora, who lodged the complaint with EC, said,
"The mock poll was done at random and the EVM for Teok assembly constituency took
everyone by surprise. When the hand symbol button was pressed for Congress, the vote was
found to be recorded in favour of BJP."
He said the incident has fuelled suspicion in their minds that EVMs may have been
tampered with to favors a particular political party. Interestingly, after Congress got an
overwhelming mandate in the 2011 assembly polls, Assam Gana Parishad had lodged a
complaint against Congress accusing it of tinkering with EVMs. The Congress leadership had
rejected this charge and pointed out that EVM results could not be manipulated.
"EVM tampering could be possible in the Jorhat case," a senior Congress leader said.

Revealed: How 'fake' votes can change the Lok Sabha 2014 poll results! 7
New Delhi, Gurgaon: In a shocking revelation, it has been exposed that how fake and
bogus votes can change the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha election results, a media report said.
According to a sting operation carried out by Hindi News channel Aaj Tak, it has come to light
that the Booth Level Officers (BLOs) and agents are "hand in gloves", in the shocking crime. In
7 by: Preeti Panwar Updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 22:25 [IST]

D u t t a | 18

the video that was reportedly made in Gurgaon in Haryana it has been shown that some agents
reveal that a "fake vote" can help a person to earn upto Rs 2000. The appalling video has
reportedly captured at least ten BLOs, who are involved in the dirty game of playing with the
faith of voters, who want a change in the system. The video further reveals that multiple voter
IDs are being made on a single voter's photograph. Rs 2000 are given to a person in exchange of
one fake vote. Moreover, the election ink removers are also being sold in the market. "I can get
you 10,000 votes. Just catch one Booth Level Officer. BLO is the key," an agent was quoted as
saying. Lemon juice and Papaya extract to remove election ink mark! In the video, Gurgaon
district's Booth level officer Mukesh Kumar informs about "ways to remove the election ink
mark." "Just apply juice of lemon on your inked finger," he said. Similarly, in another sting in
South Delhi, the video shows that a vote agent suggests, "The ink can be removed applying
Papaya's liquid extract on the finger before casting your vote." The 'unseen' and 'hidden' world of
the election mafia has shaken the basic faith of the voters in the electoral system. 3 poll officials
held in Gurgaon for making fake voter cards three poll officials have been arrested for allegedly
preparing fake voter identity cards in Haryana's Gurgaon district, officials said today. District
Election Officer (DEO) Shekhar Vidyarthi ordered registration of FIRs against the three Booth
Level Officers (BLOs) after they were purportedly shown taking bribe for preparing fake voter
identity card in a sting operation by a private news channel last night, an official statement said.
The three BLOs -- Ashok Kumar, BLO of Booth Number 83 and Karan Singh, BLO of Booth
Number 86 in Laxman Vihar area, and Mahesh Kumar, BLO of Booth Number 3 in Mianwali
colony -- have been arrested, it said, adding all of them have been booked under various Sections
of the Representation of People's Act, 1950. Besides the FIRs, Vidyarthi has also recommended
disciplinary action against them to their parent departments. As soon as information about the
sting operation by a TV channel reached Vidyarthi, who is also Deputy Commissioner of
Gurgaon, he directed the Electoral Registering Officer (ERO) of Gurgaon cum SDM, Om
Prakash to conduct preliminary inquiry. Following which, Vidyarthi ordered registration of FIR
against all the three as per Election Commission guidelines. On the complaint of Om Prakash,
FIRs were lodged last night, the statement said. Meanwhile, all the FORM-6 (required for
inclusion of names in the Electoral Rolls), which were collected by the accused BLOs have been
taken into custody on the direction of DEO and District Election Office has initiated probe into
the matter. The work of distribution of voters' slips has also been withdrawn from the accused

D u t t a | 19

BLOs and assigned to other officials. The Chief Electoral Officer of Haryana Srikant Walgad and
Election Commission of India has also been informed about the action taken in the case, it said.


Majority of the nations and their governments strive for the Development and welfare of
its people. In a democratic setup such as ours it is our politicians- the representatives- the law
makers, and the people who lay foundation for the development. And it is the Election
Commission which is vested under Article 324 of Indian Constitution with the duty of
conducting free and fair election. Mere conducting of elections periodically doesnt prove that
we are republic and have an effective democracy. It is the way elections are held, the quality of
people elected, their performances that make our democracy effective. In current scenario, the
widespread disillusion in our political system is well visible. The poverty, unemployment,
illiteracy levels indicate the inefficiency of our political system. Even after 68 years of our
independence, our people suffer from lack of basic amenities in life. Although there has been
many changes made from time to time on our electoral system, yet there were no significant and
substantial reforms brought about. Now also, candidate becomes victorious by the muscle and
money power rather than his works, conducts or ideals. Thus, this can be concluded that
elections in India are still not free and fair.

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