It is surprising that Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho had the audacity to announce that elections to Goa Panchayats will be held on June 4th while the schedule of those elections is the sole prerogative of the State Election Commission (SEC).

In a democracy free and fair elections are fundamental. Goa’s SEC conducts the election to the Zilla Parishad, Municipalities, Panchayats and the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP). This one man Commission has to function very independently without any political influence or interference. But sadly this has not been the case.

The SEC is also responsible for the delimitation and reservation of wards for the Panchayat and Municipal elections including that of the CCP. It has been a routine to announce these reservations of wards just a few days before the nominations open. This is a very bad and unfair practice as the reservation of wards needs to be done well in advance.

The SEC should not be succumbing to any political pressures or maneuvers whatsoever. It is said that organizing free and fair elections is sacrosanct.

Abraham Lincoln had said “The ballot is stronger than the bullet”. And so should it truly be. Those entrusted with the task of conducting elections must 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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