Rajinder Puri

According to usually unreliable sources, there is a deep crisis in the Election Commission (EC). The members of the EC are split and in serious contention. The split has been caused by the BJP Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha, Mr Gopinath Munde.
As may be recalled, on 27 June, while addressing a public gathering, Mr Munde announced that he had spent Rs 8 crore in his last election, which was far in excess of what is allowed by law. Mr Munde defiantly told the audience that he did not care if the EC unseated him for daring to speak the truth. He wanted to cleanse the system and pointed out how poll expenses had multiplied exponentially since he first entered politics. Mr Munde was praised by several party colleagues for acting as the whistle-blower to end the scandalous difference between what is actually spent during elections against what is claimed by candidates.
Not surprisingly, the EC sought an explanation from the BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha. But surprisingly, instead of repeating his publicly delivered assertion to the EC, Mr Munde made his response by instructing his lawyer to draft a suitable reply. In his reply through his counsel, Mr Munde has denied having spent Rs 8 crore and said that he was indulging in mere rhetoric. The EC, which is, interested in arriving at its decision based on truth, is placed in a quandary. All its members are divided about what is the truth.
One member believes that Mr Munde&’s expenses as originally declared in his return must be correct, because it was filed under oath as an affidavit. A senior leader of the BJP would not file a false return under oath. The second member differs. He believes that Mr Munde&’s assertion on 27 June was the truth because it was made as a crusader interested in cleansing the system. A crusader would not lie, the member said. The third member believes that Mr Munde&’s explanation through his counsel was the total truth. Mr Munde as a politician must have indulged in rhetoric. A senior politician would not speak anything but the complete truth when delivered through a lawyer responding to an official inquiry. Now, the divided EC cannot determine when Mr Munde was lying – when he filed his election expense return, when he addressed the public on 27 June or when he responded to the EC through his counsel. According to unreliable sources, the EC members are burning the midnight oil trying to clear this mystery. Each member is sticking to his own theory.
However, the office peon confidently advised our correspondent: “All three members are wrong. It is pointless trying to decide whether Mr Munde lied on the first, the second or the third occasion. He must have lied on all three occasions. He is a politician. Politicians lie all the time.” The peon wisely added: “In politics, you can never know the truth!”

The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist. He blogs at www.rajinderpuri.wordpress.com