That warning now by Goa’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kunal of action against those influencing postal ballots has come too little too late. A cosmetic eyewash that will fool none.

We have seen that the recently conducted elections were far from free and fair. During the election campaign the BJP was selectively allowed to breach all the laid down norms. On election eve envelopes of cash were distributed door to door across Goa in broad daylight while the flying squads chose to look the other way.

The onus for this collapse of the election machinery is on CEO Kunal who has managed and manipulated to hang on in Goa for six long years while all IAS officers are transferred within three years. This very CEO had conducted the 2017 Assembly elections amidst allegations of being very partisan in not acting against gross election malpractices by the ruling party.

In my last over four decades of dealing with IAS and IPS officers posted in Goa, Kunal is one of the most devious, deceitful and dubious officer we have seen.

In a democracy free and fair elections are fundamental, as otherwise it is an exercise in futility. Politicians in Power must not manipulate and dictate terms to officials whose mandate is to ensure free and fair polls.

Election officials should bear in mind those words of the Former Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano “Organizing free and fair elections is more important than the result itself”.

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