The Biased Referee: Why the Election Commission’s neutrality is in doubt – By Seema Chishti
On 12 March, the Election Commission announced an unprecedented eight-phase polling schedule for West Bengal’s 294 assembly seats and a three-phase one for 126 seats in Assam. The way the phases have been marked out has drawn attention, especially since Bihar’s elections, in 243 seats last year, were divided into just three phases, and polling in Tamil Nadu (234 seats), Kerala (140 seats) and Puducherry (30 seats) would all be over in one day, on 6 April.
The EC says the prolonged schedule in West Bengal would help make available adequate security forces in all the areas. But concerns are being raised that the scheduling will load the dice in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Since the BJP has fewer workers on the ground in West Bengal, dividing the polls into eight phases would allow the party to focus more intensively on smaller regions at a time….