Soon, a tell-all book by former CEC Quraishi
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As Chief Election Commissioner of India till about two months back, S Y Quraishi headed the institution responsible for conducting elections in the world's largest democracy. During his time in the Election Commission, first as Election commissioner and then as CEC, Quraishi played an important role in guarding the independence of the EC, resulting in many run-ins with government functionaries, including ministers. But while the politicians had their say on the controversies, the soft-spoken IAS officer chose to remain mum. Till now, that is.
These days, away from the 24x7 media glare, Quraishi is busy giving final touches to a soon-to-published semi-autobiographical book on his time and experience in the EC, an insider's view on EC and election management. The book could leave many important personalities groping for answers to questions that the straight-talking former CEC is likely to raise in his book.
Being published by the Oxford University Press, the book holds the promise of revealing a lot, especially about Quraishi-led EC's run-in with Law Minister Salman Khurshid during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls as well as the now-abandoned plans of the UPA government to rein in the EC through a series of highly controversial measures.
There could also be reference to the EC's plan to set up the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, an advanced centre of research and training in election management, and its subsequent decision to withdraw the proposal after the Law Ministry did not clear the project for eight months. The subject of much-needed but stalled electoral reforms will also find a mention in the book.
What would also be interesting to see is if the book has something on the 2009 election of Finance Minister P Chidambaram from the Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu. While a petition challenging the election is still pending in court — the EC is not a party to the case — AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had written to the EC after the polls on the issue. Nobody knows what response, if any, the EC gave to the AIADMK chief.
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