To Win At All Costs Is New Narrative: Election Commissioner

O P Rawat also said that the Election Commission was formulating a social media policy to address the issue of public relations firms being used by parties to shape public opinion online.

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To Win At All Costs Is New Narrative: Election Commissioner

O P Rawat's remarks came just days after the political drama in Gujarat during the Rajya Sabha elections

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Election Commissioner OP Rawat said ethical considerations being excluded
  2. He said, as per the new narrative "the winner can commit no sin"
  3. Mr Rawat also said that the EC was formulating a social media policy
A new narrative is being scripted which places maximum premium on winning elections "at all costs to the total  exclusion of ethical considerations," Election Commissioner O P Rawat has said, criticising the "creeping new normal of political morality".

"In this narrative, poaching of legislators is extolled as smart political management; strategic introduction of money for allurement, tough-minded use of state machinery for intimidation etc are all commended as resourcefulness," he said.

Mr Rawat said that under the new narrative, "the winner can commit no sin" and "a defector crossing over to the ruling camp stands cleansed of all the guilt as also possible criminality". 

Addressing an event in Delhi, he said it was this "creeping new normal of political morality" that should be the target for "exemplary action" by all political parties, politicians, media, civil society organisations, constitutional authorities and all those having faith in democratic polity for "a better election, a better tomorrow". 

Underlining that "democracy thrives when elections are free, fair and transparent", he said, "however, it appears to a  cynical common man that we have been scripting a narrative that places maximum premium on winning at all costs to the  total exclusion of ethical considerations". 

His remarks came just days after the political drama in Gujarat during the Rajya Sabha elections. The EC had invalidated votes of two Congress MLAs for violating secrecy norms during voting.

The election commissioner, while speaking at a consultation on electoral and political reforms yesterday, also expressed his fears on "policy capture", where a winning candidate would help his political donors by taking decisions favourable to them while being in office.

Mr Rawat also said that the Election Commission was formulating a social media policy to address the issue of public relations firms being used by parties to shape public opinion online.

"It has come to the notice of the commission that paid operators run by PR firms are being actively deployed to shape public opinion online," he said

With increasing spread of mobile internet technology, the influence of social media was also increasing and it was high time that it was recognised as media and its content was monitored, he added.

"I'm happy to state that the ECI is formulating its social media policy and we are hopeful that it is likely to address such issues," he added.

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