Election Commission could have taken decisions quickly: Ex-CEC Krishnamurthy
Former chief election commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy on Tuesday said the poll body has done 'a good job' in conducting the Lok Sabha elections but could have taken decisions on certain complaints in time.
He also came out in support of election commissioner Ashok Lavasa's demand that his dissent be recorded in orders on model code of conduct violation cases.
'Election Commission did a good job (in conduct of elections), reasonably well...,' he said.
The former CEC said he was not surprised by political parties' attack on the Election Commission, saying when it takes a decision on complaints of MCC violations, it has to be 'one way or the other'.
Krishnamurthy, who oversaw the 2004 General Elections, said the commission should have taken some decisions (on MCC violations) in time, and also while passing orders, it should have given reasons.
'There is also criticism by one of the Election Commissioners about dissent having been not recorded; I don't see no reason why dissent cannot be recorded,' he said.
'They (EC) could have taken decisions quickly instead of waiting for some time; secondly they could have given reasons whenever they have taken a view, and third is if somebody wants dissent to be recorded, it's in fairness to record,' Krishnamurthy said.
He expressed that the EC should have considered postponing elections in violence-hit constituencies of Bengal to send a strong message to political parties that such things cannot be condoned.
He said the election commission took prompt action in curtailing campaign time in the state as 'there was so much of violence from all sides' in Bengal. He added that the panel should have also thought of postponing the elections in such cases because political parties should know 'these sort of things' would not be condoned.
'The 'brahmastra' that the EC has is postponement. You can't do it in every case, (but) where there is too much of violence, they (political parties) should know and it has to be dealt with seriously. In serious violations, parties should know that we will postpone the elections,' he said.
When he was serving as CEC, Krishnamurthy recalled, a ruling party member in a state said all the poll observers should be taken to the police station and they should not allowed to function.
'I called up the chief minister and told him that we will have to consider postponing the entire election in the state if this is the attitude, and officially it must to be contradicted and they (the state government) did contradict”, he said.
'So, there was a better understanding between political parties and state governments and the Election Commission,' he said.
Krishnamurthy said he is 'very disturbed' by hate speeches and personal attacks by politicians during the campaign in the seven-phase election that concluded Sunday.
'Somehow this time, so much of hatred, personal attacks and all that...felt very disturbed that such things should have happened,” he said.
He said the commission should give a strong message to political parties that violence, hatred and personal attacks cannot be tolerated.
According to him, the election commission should insist on having adequate paramilitary forces to conduct the elections in future within 4-5 phases, which would be ideal.
He said the 'big takeaway' from the elections is that there is need for urgent implementation of electoral reforms.