Enforcing unanimous elections in panchayats is nothing but an attempt to stifle the voice of the Backward Classes and affect the spirit of social justice, State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar has said.
Addressing the media after paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary here on Saturday, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said the percentage of unanimous elections had come down to 20 in 2013 from 30 earlier. “In the ensuing elections, the figure should come down further, signalling the victory of democracy,” he said.
The powers that be had, in their “last attempt,” tried to stop the election process by filing over 10 writ petitions in the High Court, he said. It was a “happy moment” for him as the court stood by the Constitution and the State Election Commission by ruling that “no power can stop the elections”. He said the Advocate-General was also among the petitioners.
‘Constitution is supreme’
Stating that he was the “prime witness” in several CBI cases, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said, “I enjoy protection under the Witness Protection Act. It is my nature to be bold, true and discharge my duties in accordance with the Constitution. I shall continue to do this.
“Elections should be guided by the spirit of truth, which has its roots in the Constitution that envisages the vision of B.R. Ambedkar. The ruling of the Supreme Court becomes the law of the land. It is the bounden duty of all to follow the Constitution and the systems guided by it and the law of the land. When the apex court said the Election Commission was correct, the attempts to discourage and demoralise the election process are unconstitutional and ridiculous,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar said.
“When ‘unanimous election’ is a far cry in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, why should it be enforced in the panchayat elections?” he asked.
Free and fair elections, away from intimidation, would give ample scope to the downtrodden sections, make them a part of the governance and realise their social responsibility, he observed.
“The forces that pitch for unanimous election will be grounded. Shadow parties will be after those who go hunting for the candidates filing their nominations. In order to facilitate wider participation of candidates, the norm of producing BC certificate has been done away with,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar said.
Earlier, Mr. Ramesh Kumar worshipped at the temple of Lord Rama at Vontimitta, near Kadapa, and showered praise on the district administration for the developmental works taken up at the temple.
District Collector C. Hari Kiran, Additional DGP N. Sanjay, and senior officials accompanied Mr. Ramesh Kumar and took part in the review meeting.