Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr SY Quraishi’s book “An undocumented Wonder- the Making of the Great Indian Election” was launched in Mumbai on Friday by HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, in the presence of television and film actor Kabir Bedi and noted social activist Medha Patkar. The book launch was organised by Moneylife Foundation and supported by Emergent Medi-Tech.
“The book is my modest attempt to unravel the myth and mystery behind the great election machine, the men and women who run the world’s largest democracy and the citizens who participate in it with great gusto,” said Dr Quraishi.
Releasing the book, Mr Parekh, who has always voted over the last four decades but ironically could not vote this time, as his name was missing from the voter’s list, said, “While India waits with bated breath for the results of one of its most significant elections, one must take time to read this book to understand the nuts and bolts of what it takes to put together such a challenging exercise of conducting elections. At the time when the sole focus of the media is on the magic number of 272, there is a tendency to ignore those who have quietly worked behind the scenes. The book provides an insight of what happens backstage. As the book aptly says,’the Election Commission is the most self effacing organisation in India. How little do we know about it?’.”
“The Election Commission has consistently provided good elections with logic defining efficiency. We are a voting population of 815 million, including nearly 100 million new voters. Yet how many of us even know that India is recognised as the ‘global gold standard’ in conducting elections?,” Mr Parekh added.
“An Undocumented Wonder: the Making of the Great Indian Election” answers questions about what has been termed as the ‘great dance of democracy’, how elections are conducted, what are the challenges faced by the Election Commission and many more. The book is a first-person account of recent electoral history and the challenges encountered. Along with highly informative and exciting inside stories of Indian elections, Dr Quraishi shared his personal experiences from the time when he served as the CEC.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bedi, a close friend and classmate of Dr Quraishi, said, “about 73 countries or 42% of the countries across the world have no elections. Almost 106 countries that are supposed to be democracy curtail several rights of people.In this scenario, what we take for granted in India is something that needs to be saluted and appreciated”.
Renowned social activist Ms Patkar had contested the elections from Mumbai North East for Aam Admi Party (AAP). Sharing her experience of contesting the election for the fist time, she said, “In my constituency we found new ways used by powerful candidates to distribute money. During the last two days to polling, there was power cut in nights. Not only this even the Election Commission cameras that followed us everywhere were missing during last two nights. I feel there is a need change the rules for campaigning, re-think about the spending limit”