EC should send strong message to CMs
Today, if elections are not fair, the main culprits are the ruling parties of the states. The Indian Election Commission, on its part, is doing its best to ensure value-based politics and conduct of free and fair elections in the largest democracy of the world. To ensure clean elections, I recommend the following steps: One, the CMs of the states who do not adhere to the guidelines of the Election Commission, should be debarred from contesting elections and their parties should be derecognised. Two, the respective state Election Commissioner, who does not fully abide by the orders of the Chief Election Commissioner, should be placed under suspension. A new Election Commissioner should be appointed. That will send a message to the CMs also. Three, the DCs, SPs, and lower functionaries, who play into the hands of the CMs, should be taken to task. This has to be done by the Centre, as the states are bound to protect them. The Chief Election Commissioner has to formulate appropriate rules to ensure this. Four, the buck stops with the common man. He should be repeatedly made aware that his vote is invaluable and it is his fundamental right to vote. He should not barter it for fear or favour. He should cast it in favour of a candidate of his choice without being carried away by slogans or money/muscle power. Though the first three measures are harsh, that is the only way to ensure that orders passed by the Election commission are enforced, under circumstances where ends have become more important than means.
Vote for the right man
Choose an ideal candidate, who should be highly qualified and not less than a graduate. He should be properly attired and should not roam about in dhoti, topi and chappal. He should have national spirit in him and he should have a mind that is not full of hate, which would help him keep religion out of politics. This man should be able to think about development above all other issues and should be honest. Above all, he should not be over 60.
To make elections clean, it is imperative to spread literacy, awareness and employment opportunities. The major components, which can make some difference in the present system, are an Election Commission free from political affiliations and influence, and vigilant public, media and judiciary. While media is performing its job well, students and educational institutions can also play a significant role in the electoral process. Without taking sides, they can educate masses about their rights and duties. It is our right to elect government of our own choice, but simultaneously, it is also our duty to disallow malpractices during electoral process. It cannot be denied that government officials offering favours to political parties during elections are rewarded with plum posts and, after their retirement, are nominated to boards or other respectable positions. This practice of nominations should be banned. It will help the system in inculcating impartial attitude in bureaucrats and that in turn will clean the election process.
Manage elections professionally
We are mature enough to go for professional election management system like other democracies of the world. Photo-electoral rolls, EVMs and photo-identity cards should be made mandatory. Generally, many polling stations are clubbed in one building, which increases mismanagement and law and order problem. Not more than two polling booths should be located in one building. Law and order machinery should be held responsible for any breach of peace during elections. Red entries should be made in the annual confidential reports of those officials who are found guilty of dereliction of duty and only the CEC should have the power to hear appeals in this regard. The names of voters who have shifted out of constituency or have died should be deleted from the list and voters who have been left out for any malicious reason should be included. Only private and independent agencies should fund elections.
Disallow any kind of propaganda
You will elect us
And finally we will rule
Mercy idol may we look as
But the real face is damn cruel.
A humorous answer can be to remove all politicians, but thinking realistically and logically, we can scrutinise the criterion and find out the limitations of the present election system. Firstly, the expenditure on the rallies and media campaign should be minimised so as to eliminate the invisible force operating on the psyche of the voter. In the garb of rallies and advertisements, wrong publicity is done, which in the long run, influences the voter and the state as well. Offensive remarks about the opposition make elections a nasty game. History has been the evidence of the fact that propaganda persuades voters to go ahead in the direction where they are unaware of the reality. Those promising a better future are actually betraying the populace and this malicious mindset has given our election system a bad name and virtually abused it. Distributing the riches among the poor is a publicity stunt and is just another example of what politicians can do. In a state like Punjab, liquor is distributed during elections and the voter is forced to change or misuse his or her right to vote. In short, the voter is not aware of his or her rights and duties.
PAARTH A. NARANG,
Paper for the illiterate, EVMs for others
There are number of ways in which elections can be made clean. First of all, the candidates fighting for elections belonging to any party should be made to submit an affidavit to the Chief Election Commissioner signed by any lawyer of the local High Court, stating that the candidate does not have any criminal background. Secondly, a survey should be made of the population that is going to vote in the elections. Then, according to this survey, the population should be divided between rural and urban population. From the divided population, the educated and uneducated population should be separated and be issued voter I-cards accordingly. The educated people should be asked to vote on electronic voting machines and the uneducated people should be told to mark their vote on the traditional ballot paper. In order to avoid booth capturing and ensure free, fair and clean elections, the election premises should be made fully secured by making elaborate security arrangements in advance and providing the security guards with modern weapons.
The EC is doing well for now
Ever since the Independence, we are finding the rules and means to root out corruption and save elections from corrupt and criminal-minded persons. The Election Commission of India is doing a commendable job in heading towards this goal. In the past, people involved in cheating, corruption and the ones with criminal history used to help politicians by being weapons in their hands. Politicians, using their money and muscle powder won election after election. Nowadays, criminals fight elections for their own selves and often emerge victorious, make their way into the Legislative Assemblies, Parliaments and even become Cabinet ministers to spread the disease of corruption and crime. It is the right time for the Election Commission of India to strongly enforce the laws to stop these persons with criminal history and those corrupt politicians from contesting the elections.
Dr S. K. AGGARWAL,
Participation of the youth should increase
In the Post-Independence period, India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had called for a healthy democratic process for the country, but in the present scenario, the situation has changed and muscle power, money power, criminalisation, rigging and booth capturing in polls have engulfed the political arena and allotting tickets to persons who have criminal record has compelled the sincere contestant to keep away from contesting elections. In the pre-poll scenario, we expect all parties to follow the election code of conduct and refrain from using muscle power and money power to influence the voters. The use of photo-identity cards has now been adopted, but the voters are not much aware of its right use and politicians have devised new ways of abusing the new system. Each voter should make a commitment in his mind that he or she will be fair at the time of voting and refrain from accepting gifts and succumbing to political pressure. The voter should vote according to his or her conscience. Due to revolution in the print and electronic media, literacy drive has reached the masses, and in the present scenario, voters are well aware of the ways leading to the prosperous future of the nation. The participation of the youth in elections plays a major role in restoring our faith in democracy. The voters should abide by this pledge. In the politics of coalition, political parties and leaders should follow the norms of democratic process and fulfil the terms and conditions of the election code of conduct, and adopt fair play. They should refrain from mud slinging, inflammatory speeches and comments that can distort communal harmony and unity and integrity of the country.
Election is a time pass for India, because leaders don’t want to clean India of her infections; they want to clean India moneywise; and given the speed of the scams, soon India shall be robbed clean of all her money. Election is the only great way to gain power, security, name and (most importantly) money, all in one go. Maybe some time, some politicians do an occasional good thing for the people, but that, too, is to increase their vote bank, which is why they bungle voters’ list. Their good face is not their real one for India, but India’s people are no fools. The truth is India’s people have no choice; no alternative has ever been created. That’s why when they go for voting, they just pray and hope that maybe they haven’t done their worst.
Even a few electoral reforms will do
We know there can’t be a perfect system, but there can at least be electoral reforms like: 1. Candidates should at least be matriculates. 2. His assets should be known publicly. 3. Legislations should be brought in to curb horse-trading. 4.The electorate should have the right to recall a legislator if he or she fails to live up to the expectations of the public and indulges in incommensurate practices. 5. Funding the candidates through the Election Commission and monitoring the election-related expenditure incurred by the candidates should be brought in. 6. It should be made mandatory for those seeking re-election to make public the list of promises made during the previous elections and then a declaration of how many of these were fulfilled.