(Captain GR Gopinath founded Air Deccan and is considered a pioneer in the low-cost airline sector. He joined Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party in January this year.
At the outset it must be emphasized, India should be proud of a few institutions. At the very top of that list is The Election Commission Of India. The Indian parliamentary election is a stupendous undertaking because of its sheer size and scale and the Commission has accomplished this task impressively with great responsibility and earned praise from all quarters.
That said, it may be impertinent to point out any flaws or indiscretions while conducting such a gigantic undertaking. But it may be necessary in all humility to do so, in the hope that the institution listens to diverse views and only becomes better and stronger.
It should be obvious that in this general election, there are three main players who are leading their parties with national presence - Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal.
Without lionising Modi or giving this any political bias and overtone, it should be obvious by now that Modi, Rahul and Arvind in that order have been drawing huge crowds. Whether one subscribes to the 'Modi Wave' theory or otherwise, (we will know only after counting), Modi has been drawing immense crowds, converting each of his rallies into a sea of humanity.
He is the candidate from Varanasi but is also campaigning across the country just like Rahul and Kejriwal. It is a super-human task to touch all the 543 constituencies. Even with helicopters and jets at his disposal, Modi has been able to cover only around 200 constituencies. Rahul has probably done the same; Kejriwal much less, as he did not use private aircrafts.
Modi or Rahul can at best visit their constituency twice or at the most three times in their whirlwind tours.
In the light of this, the Election Commission must go beyond the rule book and facilitate the rallies or campaigns of such high-profile leaders, especially a prime ministerial candidate. They must create the necessary security bulwark to ensure that the prime ministerial candidates in particular can reach out to their constituents. They have the entire country's administrative as well as intelligence and security apparatus to rely on.
No one can impute bias to our Election Commission, whatever the charges by affected political parties. They are above that.
However at the operational and executional levels, there could be impropriety. That may not be the case with the denial of permission for Modi's Varanasi rally. But often, it is lack of discretion, lack of insight, arrogance or just opaque bureaucratic vision on the part of the officials on ground that can contribute to poor decisions.
The Varanasi mess was avoidable in an otherwise perfect conduct of election.
The Election Commission will do well to reflect after the heat and dust settles down.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this blog are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing on the blog do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.