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ambedkar
Opinion

Ambedkar and his forgotten contributions to the great Indian election system

Today India’s Election commission advises many Asian and African nations on smooth and orderly conduct of elections.

Today is 128th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. This great visionary leader of the last century is mostly remembered for his valuable contributions in drafting the constitution of India, and amongst many others, such as the creation of Reserve Bank of India.
However, he is rarely remembered for his contributions in creating the election system of India, which over the last seven decades has emerged as one of the best election systems in the world. Many Indians may not know that the foundation of the gigantic election system that fuels the world’s largest democracy was laid down by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
After the drafting of the constitution was completed and it was adopted in 1950, Dr Ambedkar, as India’s first law minister, had a bit of breathing time. This is when he drafted “The Representation of people’s Acts, 1950 and 1951” under which the elections in India are conducted.
I, myself have conducted several general elections as a ‘Returning Officer’, and can say with experience that, Dr Ambedkar has put in his soul into these acts to create a time tested system to support this diverse democracy of ours.
These are the perhaps only acts and rules under which, civil and police administration works with military precision, professionalism and efficiency. Former Chief election commissioner, T.N.Sheshan firmly implemented this law with more strictness, in its true letter and spirit. That earned him the status of a national hero in nineties.
Today India’s Election commission advises many Asian and African nations on smooth and orderly conduct of elections. Such was the vision behind the drafting the election laws, that one of the most powerful prime ministers, Mrs Indira Gandhi was disqualified for misuse of office, under the corrupt practices, described under the said acts.
Having said all good things about elections laws and its success, Dr Ambedkar, failed to visualise, certain corrupt practices that future generations may adopt.
Never did he visualise, that media in India shall fall before politician’s money might and resort to the unfair practice of “paid news” during elections.
Today across the nation this has become a norm and there is no provision in the Representation of People’s Act to disqualify a candidate for resorting to paid news in media, neither there are rules to prohibit media from this unfair and corrupt practices.
The election laws have been amended several times, will the present party in power amend the laws to include many such modern corrupt practices in the elections laws?
That would be the truest tribute to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The author of the article is a former Civil Servant.

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