If India’s liberals’ apprehensions that another term to Narendra Modi will see further emasculation of Indian democracy seem scary, the fourth estate’s club in the Capital, Press Club of India, has preempted him in weakening democracy in such a manner and to such an extensive that the opposition has virtually been whistled out of the club by all posible undemocratic methods.
This time round, the election is taking place (September 23) four months late for no reasons at all. It was the whims of the management that the election would take place when it desires it, too hoots to the company laws or the Articles of Association of the club.
Surprise of surprises is that the incumbent management committee has convened the AGM on 23 September second tume in its one-year tenure, in complete violation of the Articles of Association and the company laws.
The management love power as desperately as a dying person. In the last AGM it showed so much fright of the chair slipping away from under it that it passed a resolution that the next election to the committee would take place only after it completed full one year term, and thereafter the committee would decide the date of election.
The committee sat over it for four months in the name of preparing the balance sheet for 2022-23, which only a new committee can prepare and bring it to the AGM for consideration and adoption.
Over more than a decade, it has filled the voters’ list with non-journalists to such an extent that the odds are in proportion if 90 in their favour and 10 for those who want to contest against them.
Further, non-journalists have attained majority in the membership count, relegating journalists to the second position, though the Articles of Association says 80 percent of members shall of the journalist category.
Membership is granted round the year in complete violation of the Articles of the Association, and the names and addresses of the new voters’ are made public only about a week before the polling, giving a very short window of time to the other contending group to campaign among them.
Further, as the procedure is not followed in the grant of membership, the management committee resorts to pick and choose to induct those who they feel would vote for them.
To top all, the management has a loyal chief election officer who leaves no stone unturned in their path to victory.
This incumbent caucus has been appointing the same person as the chief election officer since 2011 when the first election under their watch was conducted.
This officer entertains no suggestion by the opposite grouping on making the election process democratic and transparent.
He is the be all and end all, towering over the journalists like a Colossus and conducting the election like a teacher disciplines his students in a class room.
Never does the management allow a member to question them on the club’s finances and administration. They conduct the whole business in the way of a mafia don.
The office-bearers reel out their falsehoods while their henchmen in the meeting ensure that whosoever rises to query the don is silenced.
But the elephant in the room in the matter is the timidity of the journalist members. They are so scared of being expelled that they do not want tread on their toes.
The common refrain among them: they come to the club to enjoy their drinks, after sweating it out whole day.
This state of affairs in the club completes a scenario where there is space no to protest. So, the agenda of regime change has become so tough a task that journalists prefer to keep mum and let the status quo, howsoever bad, to continue to enjoy their drinks in a serene ambience.
And quite flows the Yamuna despite the huge unrest among peoples on both sides.