India’s poll watchdog gives angipariksha after each election: CEC

CEC Rajiv Kumar said that the people of India trust election results, but it gives agnipariksha after each election.

| Updated: 12 March, 2023 1:03 pm IST
CEC Rajiv Kumar addressing a press conference in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Even though people trust the election results, the Election Commission of India (ECI) gives angipariksha (trial by fire) every time after elections, said chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Sunday.

Responding to a question on whether the people of Karnataka can trust the election commission for fair and free state elections, CEC Kumar said that results are accepted election after election and the transition of power each time has been smoothly done by ballot.

“In the last 70 years, India has stabilised its social, cultural, political, geographical, economic, and linguistic issues peacefully and through dialogue mainly because of established democracy which is possible only because people trust election results. Still, ECI gives agnipariskha every time after each election,” Kumar told a press conference.

“This is in stark comparison to what has been recently happening even in many developed countries,” he lamented.

Citing the commission’s vibrant history of conducting elections, CEC Kumar further said, “The Election Commission of India recently completed the 400th state assembly election in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, 17 times election to the parliament and 16 times presidential and vice presidential elections.”

The commission has been subjected to heavy criticism by Opposition leaders in the recent past over the conduct of elections and the announcement of poll schedules.

After it allocated the ‘bow and arrow’ symbol and ‘Shiv Sena’ party name to the rebel party group led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, Sanjay Raut – an MP from the Uddhav Thackeray camp – alleged a deal of ₹2000 crores.

Trinamool Congress’ vocal lawmaker Derek O’Brien also criticised the commission over the allocation, calling it “extremely compromised”.

Opposition leaders have accused the poll watchdog of favouring the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

CEO Rajiv Kumar-led ECI team was in Karnataka, for a three-day tour to check the preparedness of assembly polls scheduled to take place later this year.

The tenure of the current legislative assembly of Karnataka ends on May 24.

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