The Election Commission is reportedly proposing, among 30 ideas, to do away with poster wars during elections! It may means that voters may not see any posters -including the Opposition posters that remind the voters of their presence. Without the posters and without publicity in the mainstream paper, TVs and radios the Opposition’s presence will merely be felt in the alternative media-limiting its coverage to only half of the voters-and actually only those who are willing to turn to Opposition’s blogs and web sites! How did the EC come out with such an idea?
There are actually precedence to such poster-less elections. In the university campuses the students council elections have been done without free postering. Every poster have to follow a standard size and colour scheme. Each copy need to be stamped by the university administration. If it has been done in the campuses for years-and never met any poud opposition, why not expand the idea to the wider society? On the face of it it may even claim to help save some trees -including the ones used to print dollar notes! However given the little access of the Opposition to the mainstream media it may mean that the opposition may well disappear from most of the public spaces!
In fact nobody knows what are the 30 new ideas that EC want to introduce before 13th GE to make the elections bteer than before. However there is a good reference for the EC if they truly want to improve our election conducts. Just look at Thailand and Indonesia-the EC there are helpful to the candidates by printing set of full colour posters with all candidates with their small write up about themselves, and post them at all strategic junctions in the relevant constituencies. So even a poor candidate can have a minimum profile in the constituency.
The Thai EC goes 1 step further: they even organise debates for the candidates where the candidate have equal chance to express their policies and plan for the constituency!
If the EC indeed want to improve democracy they have plenty of options and references. If they don’t want then they will keep their 30 ideas to the last minutes so that no one can object and the proposals would be rammed through the Parliament without any debate!