As the 90-member Haryana Legislative Assembly or the Vidhan Sabha is scheduled to hit the polls in October this year, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state, Shrikant Walgad is making every effort to ensure that the elections are free and fair, and held as transparently as possible. Early last week, the CEO said in a press statement that necessary instructions will be given for the Assembly poll arrangements to the respective officers on duty in specific regions. But let us ask: are the assembly poll arrangements in Haryana without some serious loopholes? What are the improvements to be made in the poll preparations in the state ahead of the crucial elections to its Legislative Assembly?
First of all, it is the duty of the CEO to ensure that all citizens of Haryana have enrolled their names in the voter's lists. But, as noticed, sufficient supervision of the preparation, maintenance and revision of the electoral rolls has not been undertaken in Haryana. Again, in order to smoothen the process of issuing voter's identity cards and enrollment of names in the voter's list, it is imperative that the CEO holds successive campaigns in every quarter of the state along with a final list, incorporating the fresh changes in the voter's lists. However, the Election Commission in Haryana has failed to bring about the maximum transparency in the system of enrollments in voters names, as campaigns are restricted.
Often due to the frequent interventions of political parties in the election process, the issue of maximum transparency is compromised with, in Haryana. The model code of conduct which is to be followed by politicians and campaigners during the election process, and also by voters on the election day, is violated very frequently by these politicians, and they are often not punished for it. In other words, the crucial poll arrangement of maintaining law and order in Haryana during the preparatory stage of the elections and during the election process is often not substantiated in the state. This is largely because of increasing presence of anti-social elements and hoodlums in the state, who interfere with the peaceful process of elections in Haryana.
To solicit the maximum participation in the elections, poll arrangements in Haryana must ensure the effective digitisation of maps to indicate areas of the polling stations and their respective distances, along with making an arrangement for sufficient manpower and material resources on the day of the elections, among others.
One of the primary loopholes in the necessary poll arrangements in Haryana is the imbalance in the financial management during the elections. Although the District Electoral Officers in Haryana are required to communicate the budget estimates of the election to the CEO, months before the election day, the process is not regularised in Haryana. This often leads to chaos in the smooth administrative functioning of the CEO of Haryana.
Making the required arrangements for assembly polls in Haryana are crucial, in order to let every citizen of the state cast his or her vote peacefully. This can be achieved only through voters awareness of democracy and adult suffrage. This can only take place when no political party interferes with and influences the voters' decisions directly or indirectly it is here that the CEO of Haryana must play a greater and more pivotal role through the elaborate poll arrangements. Our dream in Naya Haryana is to enhance the level of interaction between the citizens of Haryana and the political sphere of the state.