The large electoral turnover, glitches in electronic voting machines, names missing in the electoral rolls are one can expect in an election of such dimension. The size and the number of electorates make Indian elections an Utsav or celebration which was witnessed in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections country wide in the first phase of seven round ballot battle. But a food packet getting caught in the electoral controversy is the new one. The outlet named ‘Namo’ had food packets in saffron and being distributed in a hatchback to the security men posted at the election booths in Noida, remained in the centre of a controversy when a TV channel exposed the similarity with Hindi name given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi using the first two words of ‘Na’ and ‘Mo’. According to the expose the outlet came into existence in just 13 months ago as per the owner’s admittance. The controversy has been the unique one never heard earlier before. The round one of the seven-phase Lok Sabha election began in 91 constituencies across the length and breadth of the country amidst the reports of unrest and irregularities cast shadows over the fairness over the outcome. In Jammu & Kashmir, opposition leaders like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti came forward to complain about administrative and other lapses. If the sporadic incidents of violence was one worry, the other was the reports of EVM glitches and voters not being allowed to exercise their franchise. No developed country is using EVMs as they are prone to manipulation. India had seen some of the clean elections during the tenure of T N Sheshan as Election Commissioner of India in 1990. Now six more to go with final results to be declared in May 23 more of the controversies are going to come. The sharply polarised 2019 election brings into focus the Election Commission’s role and objectivity.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper