Will Tripathy Act As SEC or Continue Ignoring Contravention of Election Laws by the Ruling Party as an Obliged Person?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Had the State Election Commissioner Mr. Ajit Kumar Tripathy acted as a responsible SEC, the ruling party, specifically the Chief Minister could have been taken to task for contravention of the election code in the context of political use of the official platform of the 99th Indian Science Congress.

Had he acted to faithfully discharge his duties as SEC, all the Biju statues erected arbitrarily in public places and all official signboards carrying Biju’s name, like in Uttar Pradesh, should have been put under cover and all official projects named after him should have been kept behind curtains till Panchayat elections were over.

He has not acted against these instances having dazzling effect on voters’ free thinking, which, unless remedied immediately by taking the Chief Minister to task for such shrewd use of public places and official emblems for political mileage after the Panchayat election process started, may put the BJD in advantage.

After we focused on the urgent necessity of putting Biju statues erected in public places as well as office boards and official projects named after Biju away from voters’ view, the SEC has, of course, restrained candidates from using party names and party flags and simultaneously, political parties from electioneering in support of any candidate or candidates.

Now, therefore, the SEC has reason to act against BJD, and its Pipili MLA Pradip Maharathi in particular, as this restriction has been blatantly violated in a procession under the ruling party banner that spread from Bhubaneswar into various Panchayats of Pipili Constituency.

The BJD MLA, tainted with the appalling Pipili obnoxiousness that has left the gang-raped victim in coma, after resigning from ministership under pressure, had to declare that his resignation was propelled by his desire to save his party from embarrassment in the Panchayat polls and to campaign freely full time for the party candidates in the hustings. He even described the candidates contesting for posts from ward members to Sarpanches to members of Panchayat Samitis as BJD soldiers and himself as their commander, before commencement of the procession on 20 January, while blowing in his own mouth a conch that the BJD has adopted as its election symbol. The procession, with horrific roaring of 1500 motorcycles escorting Maharathi, heavily studded with party flags and party slogans covered almost all panchayat nerve centers with official personnels, in attendance, witnessing the aggressive barnstorming without any objection.

If this is not contravention of the election codes, what else could be?

The SEC should come out with an answer.

And, instead of acting as an obliged person rehabilitated after retirement, Mr. Tripathy should act as the SEC and save the Panchayats from being hijacked by the ruling party through blatant contravention of election codes.

In fact, the most clamant question at the moment is: will Tripathy act as SEC or continue ignoring contravention of election laws by the ruling party as an obliged person?

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