Monday, April 19, 2021

Losing credibility

An apex body of 22,000-odd companies, Central Association of Private Security Industry (CASPI), leveling serious allegations of having been defrauded by a BJP MP owned company should act as an eye-opener for the Election Commission of India (ECI). This is mainly for the reason that the event organized by the BJP MP owned company was the facilitator for such an interaction with Chowkidars during the general elections amounts to violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for which the poll authority has taken cognizance of other violations. The Supreme Court where some petitions have been filed seeking action against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, has also stopped short of ordering an First Information Report (FIR) against the two but observed that such actions open doors for prosecution of the top two leaders of the country. The ECI like other allegations should order a probe into the allegations of the CASPI and not to wait for the directions from the SC for this purpose. It is serious issue that the entire event to support BJP’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ poll slogan on March 20 this year, was actually ‘hijacked’ by a security firm founded by a BJP MP, R K Sinha, and being run by his son Ritiraj Sinha and its three companies. The firm goes under the name Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) has shoddy past and does not figure in the public domain and its entire operation is a suspect. This was described to be the interaction of Narendra Modi with 25 lakh security guards of the country. Except that, what really seems to have happened, as it has now emerged, was that the whole thing was more of a gimmick orchestrated by a BJP MP. It is similar to the NaMo Television, being aired through all the satellite and cable services across the country without the knowledge, license and permission from the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry, which is a regulator of all electronic TV channels. The NaMo TV also has not filed any application for seeking permission or getting a license or shown anything about its promoters and the investments, which is a total violation of the rule of law in the country. If ruling party BJP can stoop to such an extent, it means, it can play any fraud and hoodwink the common masses of the country to vote the BJP leaders to power again. Moreover, if the ruling dispensation is blatantly flouting the laws of the land, then it has no morality to stay in power, which the party is enjoying at the Centre and some states of the country. Apart from what has happening in the public domain through different channels on behalf of the ruling party, no formal complaint appears to have been filed with ECI by the CASPI on this issue. But it is incumbent on the part of the poll authority to take notice of such issues before they are formally approached by the concerned citizens. In a letter sent to PMO by CASPI, its chairman Kunwar Vikram Singh pointed out that the security guards kept on waiting for the event to start on the designated day. It was then discovered that the ‘audio interaction’ was actually happening through a Facebook live stream, which could not be accessed by the security guards since they don’t have accounts on the social networking site. The BJP MP’s son disappeared after having reportedly confirmed that he organized the whole event. It later turned out that Narendra Modi was having interaction with 500 security guards of Ritiraj Sinha’s company and its sister concerned. The CASPI alleging that it was a ‘real fraud played upon all guards’ is once again a serious issue. Such activities of the ruling party should be tapped and tracked by the huge paraphernalia of the ECI and acted upon before any complaint is filed. However, it is also a sad state of affairs that some of the complaints filed by the security guards, civil society activists, opposition political parties and former armed forces personnel have not been taken note of, leave alone acted upon by the ECI. This is the reason that the credibility of the ECI members is also being doubted when a group of former IAS officers expressed apprehensions on the fair conduct of elections and allowing level playing field to all political parties contesting the elections. It is important that such complaints be noted and acted upon if the ECI wants to maintain its own credibility among the masses.