New Delhi: The Election Commission of India is carrying out what is truly an unenviable task. Conducting polls in a maddeningly confusing and complex country is never going to be easy. The nation may want to cut some slack for the poll panel, but it sometimes also proves that it is essentially government body run by phlegmatic bureaucrats who follow rules more in letter than in spirit.

The Election Commission has been looking particularly amateurish when it comes to implementing the model code of conduct. In many places, its approach has been plain farcical. In some others it has been stupid. 

Take the case of Mandya seat in Karnataka, which is going to see a major political fight between the Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Nikhil Kumaraswamy his son, and the widow of former Minister and well-known star Ambareesh, Sumalatha.

The Election Commission has banned the the films of Nikhil (he is a rising star in Kannada filmdom) and Sumalatha from being screened. The idea, as it is flawed, looks practically inept when the EC order is applicable only to Doordarshan. Private channels and theatres are at liberty to screen their films. This is the equivalent of being penny wise and pound foolish.

Staying with Mandya, not long ago, the local Tahsildar had ordered a palmist to cover his name board. Reason? Well, an open palm is the symbol of the Congress party. The palmist had to indeed comply with the EC order.

If this ludicrousness still makes you let out a wry smile, then what happened at Srivilliputhur in Tamil Nadu, will make you seethe in anger. Srivilliputhur is a well-known Vaishnavite temple town. Here the temple corridor floor was decorated with kolams (a kind of rangoli). But the EC wanted the kolams to be whitened out as a few of them had lotus petals. Lotus is of course the symbol of the BJP. But lotus petals are part of traditional temple motifs, and asking them to be erased is totally losing sight of larger picture and ground realities.   

The idea may have been to look firm, but the EC came across as being officious and obstinate.

Just imagine if this idea is replicated elsewhere what will happen: In Andhra and Telangana, people will have to die in the summer heat. For they cannot use car, bicycle and ceiling fan as they are the symbols of TRS, TDP and YSR Congress.

UP and Bihar will starve of thirst because Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD has the hand pump symbol. 

Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, has to be totally dark what with the rising sun, the DMK's symbol, will be totally blacked out by the EC.

The list is endless as almost all political party symbols are every-day items.

The EC's job, as we said, is hard enough. But it is making it tough for itself by being overly rule-bound. Rules, the EC should remember, are for running an organisation efficiently. They should not let these rules derail its functionality totally.