It is very disheartening that the Group of Ministers (GoM) did not hold any discussion on the issue of giving the model code of conduct a constitutional status in spite of a proposal being passed in this regard. Though, the government gave an explanation that corrupt ministers will never take the model code of conduct seriously, it failed to answer as to how the controversial proposal that speaks of giving constitutional status to the model code was leaked to the media. It seems ridiculous that the government on the one hand says that the GoM constituted to look into cases of corruption has nothing to do with the model code of conduct, on the other it does accept that issues regarding model code of conduct do come up for discussion in GoM meetings. The government also said that if political parties want, electoral reforms can be discussed. Why will any law abiding citizen want the powers of the Election Commission to be curtailed? What made the government believe that the Opposition would support them in their endeavour? Even if we assume that some political parties do believe in curbing powers of the EC, isn’t it the duty of the government to oppose it?

The Centre can turn away and say that this controversy is an outcome of some mischief, but a message has already been passed on to the people that the government has scant regard for constitutional bodies. It cannot be mere coincidence that those people who have taken on the EC till some time back were entangled in a controversy with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). It is for the first time that two Cabinet ministers have one after the other violated the model code of conduct and thereby challenged the EC. There are enough evidences to prove so. Though, these ministers may have sought pardon from the EC due to public pressure, it is aptly clear that this was mere formality. It is disappointing that such a controversy has surfaced at a time when electoral reforms are a must. This proves that there is little hope that the Centre will take any concrete action towards pending electoral reforms.