(Source: BloombergQuint)

Will Election Commission’s Ban On Politicians Make A Difference?

The poll panel’s ban on Indian politicians from election trail will “definitely put pressure on the candidates”, according to former Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat.

“These politicians have only 14 days to campaign and reach out to the electorate and if out of 14 days you are banned from campaigning or speaking to public for two or three days, then that’s a huge loss to them,” he told BloombergQuint in an interview.

Will Election Commission’s Ban On Politicians Make A Difference?

The Election Commission punished a few politicians for religious hate speeches that violated the agency’s Model Code of Conduct just days after polling began in the world’s largest democracy. The poll panel issued a 48-hour ban on Union minister Maneka Gandhi who said she would not work for Muslims if they did not vote for her.

If my victory is without the Muslims, I will be left with a bitter feeling. If Muslims come for some work after this, I will think why bother, what difference will it make. This election I have already won, and you will need me and want to lay the foundation for this.
Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister

The commission also barred Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan from campaigning for 72 hours. BSP supremo Mayawati faced a 48-hour ban for appealing to Muslims to vote for the SP-BSP-RLD alliance and not the Congress to ensure that anti-Bharatiya Janata Party votes were not split.

Still, former Lok Sabha MP Tathagata Satpathy blamed the Election Commission for creating a feeble image for itself. “Politicians have reached a stage of no holds barred,” he told BloombergQuint.

Politicians have become extremely desperate and it seems like May 23 will be a make or break situation for them.
Tathagata Satpathy, Former MP, Lok Sabha

Even after the ban some politicians have threatened voters. BJP MLA from Fatehpura, Ramesh Katara, told voters that PM Modi had installed cameras in polling booths.

“There’s no way political parties can find out who voted for whom in a particular polling station,” Rawat said. “This data is not available for anyone to see. They can find out how many votes were given to their party out of the total votes collected.”

Watch the full debate here: