Will Tripathy Act As SEC or Continue Ignoring Contravention of Election Laws by the Ruling Party as an Obliged Person?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Had the State Election Commissioner Mr. Ajit Kumar Tripathy acted as a responsible SEC, the ruling party, specifically the Chief Minister could have been taken to task for contravention of the election code in the context of political use of the official platform of the 99th Indian Science Congress.

Had he acted to faithfully discharge his duties as SEC, all the Biju statues erected arbitrarily in public places and all official signboards carrying Biju’s name, like in Uttar Pradesh, should have been put under cover and all official projects named after him should have been kept behind curtains till Panchayat elections were over.

He has not acted against these instances having dazzling effect on voters’ free thinking, which, unless remedied immediately by taking the Chief Minister to task for such shrewd use of public places and official emblems for political mileage after the Panchayat election process started, may put the BJD in advantage.

After we focused on the urgent necessity of putting Biju statues erected in public places as well as office boards and official projects named after Biju away from voters’ view, the SEC has, of course, restrained candidates from using party names and party flags and simultaneously, political parties from electioneering in support of any candidate or candidates.

Now, therefore, the SEC has reason to act against BJD, and its Pipili MLA Pradip Maharathi in particular, as this restriction has been blatantly violated in a procession under the ruling party banner that spread from Bhubaneswar into various Panchayats of Pipili Constituency.

The BJD MLA, tainted with the appalling Pipili obnoxiousness that has left the gang-raped victim in coma, after resigning from ministership under pressure, had to declare that his resignation was propelled by his desire to save his party from embarrassment in the Panchayat polls and to campaign freely full time for the party candidates in the hustings. He even described the candidates contesting for posts from ward members to Sarpanches to members of Panchayat Samitis as BJD soldiers and himself as their commander, before commencement of the procession on 20 January, while blowing in his own mouth a conch that the BJD has adopted as its election symbol. The procession, with horrific roaring of 1500 motorcycles escorting Maharathi, heavily studded with party flags and party slogans covered almost all panchayat nerve centers with official personnels, in attendance, witnessing the aggressive barnstorming without any objection.

If this is not contravention of the election codes, what else could be?

The SEC should come out with an answer.

And, instead of acting as an obliged person rehabilitated after retirement, Mr. Tripathy should act as the SEC and save the Panchayats from being hijacked by the ruling party through blatant contravention of election codes.

In fact, the most clamant question at the moment is: will Tripathy act as SEC or continue ignoring contravention of election laws by the ruling party as an obliged person?

Kalinga Prize Messed Up: Election Code Raped on the Podium of Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Kalinga Prize could not be presented to Dr. Rene Raul Drucker Colin, selected for the Award 2011, as he did not come to receive the same.

The explanation churned out is that, he was not informed of award ceremony sufficient ahead of time.

But in reality, this happened, because the UNESCO was not permitted under the Rules to present the Kalinga Prize at Bhubaneswar on the publicized date.

The Kalinga Prize is awarded under and controlled by a set of Rules framed and promulgated for the specific purpose. No deviation is permitted.

Under these Rules, administered by the Director General of UNESCO, after receiving the funds from the Kalinga Foundation Trust, the Government of Orissa and the Government of India in the preceding year of the Prize, shall officially invite member countries for submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 May of the year of the Prize.

Then, under Article 5 of the Rules, the Juri shall examine the records submitted along with the nominations and “shall send an assessment on nominations and accompanying recommendations to the Director- General of UNESCO no later than 31 August of the year of the Prize”.

Then the person nominated for the Prize shall be declared and the Prize shall be awarded by the Director-General at an official ceremony held for that purpose “in the place where UNESCO celebrates World Science Day, on 10 November”.

In view of this stipulation on venue and date laid down under Article 7 of the Rules, in absence of any amendment thereto, the UNSCO had no authority to award the Prize to the selected person at Bhubaneswar on 4 January 2012. The word “shall” connotes to “must” under the Rules and hence, it is mandatory for award of the Kalinga Prize “in the place where UNESCO celebrates World Science Day, on 10 November”.

The day, 4 January, was not 10 November and the venue of the session of Indian Science Congress was not “the place” where UNESCO was celebrating “World Science Day”.

Therefore, there is no surprise in absence of the awardee and awarder of Kalinga Prize.

No wonder that the Union Minister for Science and Technology, Bilas Rao Desmukh, despite being present at inauguration of the 99th Session of Indian Science Congress on 3 January, did not stay on at Bhubaneswar to attend the Kalinga Prize ceremony even though he was advertised to address the event. Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal who was also advertised to address the prize giving ceremony as guest of honor did not thought it proper to come. Had they participated, they would have attracted punishment for violation of Election Codes, as the entire drama of Kalinga Prize was coined for the stage with the sole purpose of dazzling Panchayat voters by Biju Patnaik’s posthumous blaze created through propaganda in his favor flowing from the mouths of national and international celebrities in the sphere of science and politics.

Yet, there was no end to misuse of the official venue of Indian Science Congress for this political purpose.

As Dr. Colin did not come to receive the Prize, because he was not supposed to, a new contrived Kalinga Chair was given to co-winner of the 2009 Prize, Mr. Trinth Xuan Thuan by Sri Naveen Patnaik on the occasion, in clear contravention of Article 2 of the Rules.

It was not made clear that the Chair has no link to Biju Patnaik.

In 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in order to please his Haryana supporters, had availed the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of Kalinga Prize to bag a global recognition for Ruchi Ram Sahni, a great but unrecognized scientist of pre-independence India, by annexing to it a chair in his name, to which the UNESCO, after enough pressure, had agreed over specific terms and condition to the extent that the Government of India would “offer” a recipient of Kalinga Prize the proposed chair on he/she being honored with the Prize, with a certificate and a token cash to help him/her to travel to India, where, on arrival a foreign awardee or an Indian on submission of tour program, shall be treated as Government of India’s guest for two to three weeks to interact with Indian scientists in Universities and lecture venues. This “offer”, however, has neither any retrospective effect nor any life after closing of the Prize chapter.

Hence it was ultra vires of Kalinga Prize Rules to present the said chair – wrongfully described as Kalinga Chair – to 2009 Prize co-winner Mr. Thuan by the Chief Minister of Orissa on 4 December 2012 when the offer of the Chair had legally lapsed.

This makes it clear that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik used the official platform of Indian Science Congress for his personal political gain that he dose always by spreading his father’s name.

While presenting the lapsed Sahni Chair wrongfully projected as Kalinga Chair, he not only kept the community of Scientists in dark about Sahni in whose honor the Chair is created, by not saying anything on him as expected, but also tried to hijack the entire venue into memories of his father by shedding tears on the podium in trying to take full emotional benefit of the event to his personal political advantage when Panchayat Polls are already on the anvil. There was no necessity for telling on the podium that he was the second son of Biju Patnaik, but he did. His party’s political agenda was complete with Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra singing the expected glory to Biju, thus using the most important official platform of the day – the official platform of Indian Science Congress as well as the podium officially given to UNSCO for award of the Prize – for nasty political benefit when Panchayat Election process has already started and posthumous political use of Biju’s name forms the pivot for election campaign of the CM’s party in Orissa.

So, not only the Kalinga Prize has been messed up, but also the Election Laws in force now in context of Panchayat polls are raped on the official podium of Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar.

Will the State Election Commissioner look into this rape of Election Codes? One shall not be surprised if he does not take any action.

Absolute honesty, in reality, must a man be possessing if he, rehabilitated after retirement, acts against the rulers of the day.

So, it would be a rare phenomenon if the SEC acts in this case.