Rediff has come out with a beautiful story, "How Bihar was Won" that speaks of how EC has transformed from managing the elections at a macroscopic national level in the past to booth level management during the recent years. The difference was chiefly observable in the Bihar assembly elections
- The chief difference was the availability of voter rolls in electronic form and technology-savvy officers which made it easier to scour the rolls for duplicate names and suspicious entries.
- A software programme generated a list of households showing more than 10 to 15 voters and these were also verified to eliminate the names of dead and migrated voters.
- Photo matching software was used to diligently comb out possible duplicate entries in the Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). This single exercise allowed the EC to eliminate 1.831 million voters ( duplicate, dead or migrated ).
- The EPIC program was made popular through extensive campaigning and that helped the EC to rope in new voters into its electronic rolls, raising the percentage of people covered by EPIC in Bihar from 57% to an amazing 84% in one single sweep.
- Usage of Electronic Voting Machines and distribution of voting over a span of 7 days almost completely avoided incidents of booth capturing.
This truly is an indicator of how information technology if efficiently used can give credibility to the processes of any organization.
As N Gopalaswamy, one of the chief election commissioner puts it
That will be the day when Indians could proudly say that India is also truly a democracy."
Basu I am sure will have to eat his words now that the same procedures duly applied by Election Commission helped his party retain power in West Bengal.
Read more about the powers of the Election Commission on Wikipedia