An Old Game Waiting to be Named

Transaction is an atomic operation; a message, data modification, or other procedure that is guaranteed to perform completely or not at all

When we pay tax, part of which meets election expenses, banking system performs the following actions:

begin transaction
debit our account
credit IT department
update history log
commit transaction

Either all three of these steps must complete, or none of them at all. Otherwise, data integrity is lost. Because the steps within a transaction are a unified whole, it is an indivisible unit of work. Each transaction must succeed or fail as a complete unit; it cannot stay in an intermediate state.

When a voter changes address, we expect the following transaction:

begin transaction
remove name from voter list for old address
insert name in the voter list for new address
update history log
commit transaction

But, alas! For the CEO, it is not a transaction, but individually dangling pieces of paper work. A voter’s name may be removed one list and not added in an another or added in the other without ever removing from the original. The officials don’t seem to consider that there is a person behind the name and the voter list is the basic reference for democratic processes. This is yet another basic principle of database management flouted by the system though the guidelines from EC need it to be a complete transaction. I wish our tax gets credited without debiting our account. 

If two transactions try to access the same part of a database at the same time, we meet a dead-lock. Without accessing any resources of the EC, we often reach a virtual dead-end and then have to device to tunnel through.

Transaction Analysis(TA) is also a branch of applied psychology. TA models and analyses interactions of an individual with another, especially influenced by their assumed relational roles (called ego states) – Parent, Adult, or Child (PAC). Here, Parent, Adult, and Child are mere roles and not related with biological relationship or differences in age or position in hierarchy. A daughter can play the role of Parent to her aging father, who can assume the role of a Child.

A nurturing parent provides a framework for a child, explains roles, responsibilities, guidelines, standards, and rules. This keeps the child safe and makes him more efficient. An Adaptive Child (AC) follows the guidelines and works within the framework. A ‘little professor’ or a Rebellious Child does not honour the code of conduct. This evokes a Controlling Parent (PC) giving rise to a crossed transaction, which is an unhappy relationship.

Playing the role of Parent, the EC has laid down elaborate guidelines, standards and rules for the CEOs of states. The CEO, Karnataka, does not seem to follow them, as if a Rebellious Child. TA Gurus would expect the CEC to assume Controlling Parent (CP) mode. If the CEO does not take on Adaptive Child (AC) ego state, we expect a crossed transaction. But, No! The CEC seems to be in a playful child’s role – not explained by Dr. Eric Berne in his classic Games People Play. He did not know the Games Bureaucracy Plays in our great democracy. 

On assuming charge on 11 June 2012, the CEC told, “A clean electoral roll and hassle free registration are among our highest priorities. Every eligible person shall be on the roll and name of every ineligible person shall be removed. There shall be 100% photos on the roll and every voter shall be given an EPIC with correct details. We will engage all outreach methods, voter education and technology to achieve these objectives.”

Well said! Is there a time line? What if the priorities of the CEOs are not the same?

We have a shining new set of electoral rolls for the 27 constituencies of Bangalore District published on CEO’s website on 20 July 2012. Hope to see “every eligible person on the roll and every ineligible person removed.” I am glad to see that Jahnavi Nilekani has only one vote now, instead of four for the past  two years. However, other quality issues of incorrect names continue – Nandanamohana Nilathani, Nandan Mohan Nilathani, Nandan Nilekani are three different ways one person’s name is entered. These cannot be ‘correct details’ envisaged by CEC. 

Would you like to see some duplicate entries? Not difficult. Try the so-called “unique” EPIC numbers ZLW0507269, ZLW0507871, ZLW3303682 … at CEO’s “Search Your Name” feature on the website. I can provide hundreds of such EPIC numbers to find duplicate entries without detailed studies. A detailed analysis can tell far more about the real state of the voters list. 


About pgbhat

A retired Naval Officer and an educationist. Has experience with software industry. A guest faculty at different institutes and a corporate trainer with software development companies.
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