ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Maharashtra- Preparing for the Inevitable

of the supreme court. But of what avail is all this rigmarole if, as in the case of Haryana, the state's chief secretary, a servitor of the government in power and at the beck and call of the chief minister, also doubles as the chief electoral officer for the state and ignores the election commission's directives about revision of electoral rolls to suit the chief minister's political convenience? And will it be at all surprising if the chief secretary, again wearing his other hat as the state's chief electoral officer, is as mindful of the chief minister's interests in the actual conduct of the elections when they are held? The situation that has arisen in Haryana is neither an aberration nor has it come- about unexpectedly. The constitution had envisaged the appointment of not just one chief election commissioner but other election commissioners, who with the chief election commissioner were to constitute the election commission, as well as regional election commissioners who were to function under the control of the election commission. In fact, from the very beginning the election commission has never been properly constituted with the appointment of election commissioners other than the chief election commissioner. Similarly, regional election commissioners have never been appointed. Instead, the chief election commissioner has been quite deliberately made totally dependent on the governments in office at the centre and the states in discharging his functions. No wonder, as the present incumbent of the office bemoaned at his meeting with journalists on Wednesday, the chief election commissioner is a hostage to "the moves, counter-moves and counter-strategies" of these governments.

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