Secret ballot for city Mayor: A mockery of democracy

Secret ballot for city Mayor: A mockery of democracy

Tinkering with the institutions and the laws is now a routine practice for the new Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and his latest order invoking an amendment in the Jammu & Kashmir municipal act for election of Mayor in Srinagar and Jammu municipal corporations shows his intents of opening new gates of horse trading for the election of mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in Kashmir. An unwanted amendment at an unusal time when the popular government is not in place shows that the governor tends to secure the interests of a particular party but not of Institutions established for giving power to the people . Holding municipal elections despite boycott by two largest regional political mainstream political parties National Conference and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and now invoking a legislation for horse trading in absence of a popular government show the intents of the governor to impose his own will over the people of the state rather than respecting the will of the people in the state.

As opening new gates for horse trading would lead to confrontation but not reconciliation with the mainstream political parties who boycotted the municipal elections the election of Mayor through a secret ballot would be an acid test for the Governor to show his constitutional neutrality in the election of the head and Deputy head of the highest municipal body of the state.

Though lowest ever turn out in the just concluded municipal elections lowered was a slap on those who advised the governor to impose an unwanted elections over an unwilling electorate but Governor Malik instead of taking lessons from the mistakes he committed during last four months after occupying the hot seat in the Raj Bhavan is inviting more controversies by invoking more controversial decisions just to attract more provocation from the mainstream political parties. Interestingly on one hand Governor Satya Pal Malik is accusing two largest regional mainstream political National Conference and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) of sowing the seeds of discontent by encouraging corruption but he himself by invoking a controversial legislation for secret ballot for the election of Mayor Srinagar and Jammu Municipal Corporations is encouraging political corruption in the elected municipal bodies of the state as the figures in Jammu Municipal Corporation have already shown a clear mandate for BJP but no clear win for any party in Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) with National Conference and PDP boycotting the polls the election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is an open contest. Interestingly the governor invoked the amendment in Jammu & Kashmir municipal act to make the secret ballot mandatory for the election of mayors and deputy mayors in municipal corporations of Srinagar and Jammu only after BJP commanding a clear majority in Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) announced names for the post of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. As opening new gates for horse trading would lead to confrontation but not reconciliation with the mainstream political parties who boycotted the municipal elections the election of Mayor through a secret ballot would be an acid test for the Governor to show his constitutional neutrality in the election of the head and Deputy head of the highest municipal body of the state.

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