My conversation with a progressive, concerned and enlightened Eminent Journalist on the Election Commission in reference to the article by The WIRE
Eminent journalist (all smug and derisive): Read this! Do you still believe that this Election Commission can be trusted with such a partisan CEC? Kudos to the journalist who did such an investigative piece. Absolutely kickass! And partisan guys like you seeped in naivety still harp on institutional independent. Get over of your delusions Mauli and smell the coffee. EC has become totally partisan under Mr. Joti. It cannot be expected to act in an impartial manner….
(I interrupt)..but Sir mein zara padh loon article (Can I read the article please)
Eminent journalist: Man, this is kickass investigative stuff. padh le, padh le! (Read Read!)
(He moves around the room continuously, spring in his feet, all super excited while I read and soak the kickass investigative stuff).
Me: Err…But Sir!
Eminent Journalist: Kya..Kya but be?
Me: Sir kuch doubt hai (Sir I have some doubt). I find some sentences difficult to understand. It says “..chief election commissioner (CEC) Achal Kumar Joti had not vacated a bungalow allotted to him by the Gujarat government in Ahmadabad while he was in government service until at least late 2016 – more than a year after he had taken charge of a constitutional position that requires his complete independence from political parties and governments.” …..Well Sir, Government accommodations are meant for government servants and it says that he did not vacate the bungalow that was allotted to him while he was in government service. Now why should a government servant vacate a government accommodation allotted to him when he is in government service?
Eminent journalist: Bloody idiot! Read it carefully. He did not vacate it even after he became EC. Isn’t that a conclusive proof that he is beholden to the Modi government of Gujarat?
Me: But Sir, there are rules related to the retention of government accommodation by Government Servant. The Director of Estates prescribes it for the central government and it is also on the website. Similarly, there must be retention rules prescribed by the government of Gujarat. The author should have checked if it was as per the prescribed…
Eminent Journalist: (now getting pretty angry): Kya check be? We are journalists. We do investigative ‘stories’, find the ‘essence’ of the story and draw ‘our’ conclusions. Rules kyon dekhen (Why should we check the rules).
Me: (muttering to myself): No wonder you call your pieces ‘kahani’ (stories)!
Eminent journalist: Kya bhunbhuna raha hai be? (What are you muttering?)
Me: Kuch nahin Sir. (Nothing Sir)
Eminent Journalist: Ok, so maybe he did not check the rules of retention, but so what? Uss se kya? Does it behove a constitutional authority to seek government accommodation from the government in power? Does it not compromise his/her independence?
Me: But Sir CEC and other ECs are allotted government accommodation by the Government of the day Sir. The controlling Ministry is Ministry of Urban Development.
Eminent journalist: Again you are indulging in obfuscation. Yeh ‘controlling’ Ministry kya hota hai?(what is a controlling ministry?) Ministry ministry hota hai, jisko neta head karte hein. (Ministry is ministry headed by Neta) and since all ministers are controlled by Modi….
Me: (interrupting): So Sir what you are basically saying is that even if he had not asked for the retention of the bungalow in Gujarat, it would have been Modi who would have anyway allotted his accommodation here in Delhi….!!
Eminent journalist: (all excited, looks like will jump out of his chair) Yes, Yes! Now you get it. CEC is ever beholden to Modi, he will only do his bidding. He was his Chief Secretary…no institution remains nonpartisan now…. Read what P. Chidambaram has written about the EC…..It will only do Modi and Amit Shah’s bidding!….EC is partisan…CEC asking for retention of his bungalow even after he moved to Delhi as EC…What destruction of all the institutions of this country…!
Me: (fearfully interrupting him): Sir, but a couple of months ago a very prestigious Rajya Sabha election happened which you had covered, (what I meant was that you covered that story happening in Gandhinagar sitting in Delhi, with your favourite stringers filling in for you) in which it was reported that the President of BJP had put his prestige on line to defeat a certain Congress leader. But alas, he could not influence the same EC, under the same CEC, whose request for retention of his bungalow was still pending before the Gujarat government, over which according to you the President of BJP and PM has unlimited influence. Yeh kaise ho gaya Sir? (How did that happen Sir?)
Eminent journalist: Where is your rest room?
Me (smiling): Sir aap pehle bhi to mere ghar aa chuke hein (you have visited me earlier too)
Eminent journalist: Yes, of course. I know, straight and right.
(He gets up to go to the rest room)
Me: (while he is still on his way): Sir, as to what Mr. P. Chidambaram has written today, do you know what Scroll (who can challenge scroll) reported about what Madam Sonia ji said about the same EC under the same CEC, whose request for retention of his bungalow was still pending before the Gujarat government then? She said ‘Thank God for the Election Commission’!
I don’t know if he heard me for I could see Mr. Eminent journalist hurrying towards the rest room. Lest he disbelieve me, I try to access database of scroll and thankfully find the link easily. (https://scroll.in/latest/846651/thank-god-for-the-election-commission-sonia-gandhi-on-congress-win-in-gujarats-rajya-sabha-polls)
However, I wait for long. Looks like Mr. Eminent journalist is in no hurry to get out of the rest room. May be in there he can think better!
(This conversation is a work of the figment of my imagination and is meant to entertain. All characters (except me) bear no resemblance to anyone dead or alive. It is also NOT meant to offend anyone either dead or alive, so please ‘adjust’)
The views expressed by the writer are personal.