Category Archives: Elections

अमेरिकी चुनाव दिवस व् इबोला की अमेरिका पर दस्तक

आगामी मंगलवार यानी 4 नवम्बर को अमेरिका में चुनाव होने हैं. इसे चुनाव दिवस कहा जाता  है. चुनाव दिवस: अमेरिकी व् भारत की प्रणाली में अंतर.

 तथा इबोला का अमेरिका पर दस्तक.

इन विषयों पर आधारित  है मेरा इस बार का स्तम्भ (कालम). “वीर अर्जुन” समाचार पत्र  में प्रत्येक बुधवार को प्रकाशित.


Morality of LG Jung

New Delhi: Today, the Supreme Court while hearing a petition by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that the Delhi assembly should be dissolved and a fresh election should be announced, rebuked the Center and said: ”We gave you enough time but nothing happened and you always make one statement or other on the day of hearing”. It further stated that “in a democracy, President’s Rule cannot go on forever.”
The apex court also observed that “the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi should have taken decision on government formation at the earliest and should not have taken 5 months time.” This statement is enough to question Delhi LG’s role and integrity.
In my view the question that SC asked the Center today that “How will BJP form Govt. WITHOUT the required numbers?” should have been asked by the Delhi LG in the first place! If the Lt Governor Mr. Najeeb Jung has any political morality, he should resign without any delay now.
AAP has been saying what all has been observed by the SC today as regard the Presidents Rule in Delhi from the day one. It is still high time that the LG dissolves the Delhi assembly and paves way for fresh elections. Inviting BJP to form the government in Delhi will only give rise to horsetrading and further political instability.

Britain goes for Right to Recall: what about India!

Citizens of Britain are all set to get the RIGHT TO RECALL which will allow voters to demand a by-election to seek an opportunity to replace a sitting Member of Parliament. The voters would be required to get the signatures of at least 10% of registered voters of that constituency in an eight-week period. This procedure will only be initiated if MPs are given jail sentences or if the House of Commons agree that they have engaged in serious wrongdoing (in my opinion, this right should not be left to the House. If voters want to RECALL, let them gather up to reach 10 % number of signatures. In USA, this number is 25 %).
Right to Recall can be a cumbersome process and is rarely used as a weapon by the citizens because of its complex applicability. Nevertheless, the existence of this provision exerts a pressure on the elected representatives to be more accountable towards the public. It also gives a chance to the public to keep a more effective tab on its elected representatives.
Many countries including USA have empowered their voters with the tool of Right to Recall. Britain will soon get it. India should also move in this direction. We in India do not have it! Aam Aadmi Party is the only political party that has been vociferously demanding the two tools that will change the political landscape forever: Right to Reject and Right to Recall.

Will Indian law-makers take a cue from Britain and go for it since it is never too late to deliver something good!

Abolish Booth-wise vote count

During assembly and Parliamentary elections, you go to cast your secret ballot at a Pooling Booth. Typically, 1000-1200 voters are assigned to one booth. Each polling booth has one Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

When the results of elections are declared, people get to know which candidate got how many voters overall. That is for sure! But, election commission also declares the details to the tune of each EVM or Polling Booth. In other words, a candidate or party comes to know how many votes were polled in favor or against from that particular segment of voter population.

The Election Commission had recommended that the practice of declaring results at Booth level be abolished as it exposes the voters preferences to the political parties and candidates.

The Supreme Court asked the Central government yesterday while hearing a Public Interest Litigation: “Why are you sleeping over a 6 years old proposal of Election Commission to stop Booth-wise counting of votes”? The Center’s counsel replied: “The proposal has been sent to the Law Commission”. 

What a lethargy pace! Our tortoise of the rabbit-tortoise story will be put to shame by the Indian government!

Abolition of declaration of results at the EVM-level is a much needed reform in our electoral democracy. Politicians with vindictive attitude exploit this information to take vengeance if voters of a particular booth(s) did not vote for him/her. Remember the incidence of Maharastra Chief Minister  Ajit Pawar threatening voters in villages of Baramati Lok Sabha seat?  Mr. Pawar was campaigning for his cousin Ms . Supriya Sule – a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate in the last Lok Sabha elections held a few months back. 
Let us hope the wheels of Mr. Modi-led government would move faster as he won elections on the plank of ‘vikaas’!

Voter Assistance Booth is a welcome Step!

In Delhi Assembly elections held on December 4, 2013, Election Commission (EC) introduced a new election practice this time:

1. Election Commission itself deployed its staff and distributed “Authenticated Photo Voters SLIP” to households (2-3 days before polling day). Photo Voter Slip is a small piece of paper that has voter’s name, photo, voter ID card number, booth number (where she is supposed to go and vote) and serial number.

2. A voter is supposed to take along with her Voter ID card and “Authenticated Photo Voter Slip” when she goes to vote. In case, she does not have a Photo voter slip or forgets to carry it, she can obtain one at Voter Assistance Booth (VAB), specially created this time by election commission outside the polling booth where BLO (Booth Level Officer) deployed by EC would assist the voter and issue a new Photo voter slip.

I welcome these 2 new measures initiated by Election Commission. This means:

– The practices by political parties of distributing their own Voter Slips becomes less meaningful now. I do not mind if the parties keep doing it. let them do it, but EC has already served the purpose!

– More importantly, the practice of setting up a Voter Assistance Booth (VAB) is a great welcome. Taking this forward, in my opinion, Election Commission should now discourage (or even ban) the political parties to set up booth tables by political parties outside the Booth. EC has already served the purpose of helping voters find their information through VAB. The tables set up by parties often become a ploy for enticing voters (though discreetly), show off of egos and emotions.

If this measure is taken, then political parties would have to appoint Booth Agents only (those who sit inside the polling Booth acting as an observer for the party).

Along with this, I shall add (though I intend to discuss it in details in another post):

1. Allow the voter to vote at any booth in the constituency. For example: A voter can go and vote at any of the 156 booths of Greater Kailash Assembly area. Current practice is that a voter is allowed to vote at a designated polling booth (say number 10).

2. Polling (voting) should be allowed for a few days (say, a week) rather than just for a day. For example: Polling Day is Nov 7. The voters should have a choice to vote from Nov 1 to 6 at a few designated polling stations, and then on Polling Day (Nov 7), the whole apparatus should be on display (as it happens under current schema).




Strenghthening Loktantra via “Voty” festival

This election season has witnessed a high voter turnout. Assembly elections are being conducted in the states of Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Delhi in the month of November and December, 2013.  Voting is over in all the states except Delhi where voting will take place tomorrow,i.e., December 4.

One characteristic that has been common to all the states this season has been the pattern of high voting percentage. People of Bastar area of Chattisgarh- under the grip of Maoists- set the ball rolling in this direction. For just 18 assembly seats, Election Commission reserved one full day to facilitate voting under tight security and the voters of Bastar region did not disappoint! They came out in full swing to exercise their voting right, contributing to 67 percentage of the total voting. Rest of the Chattisgarh and then Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan followed the suit and witnessed above 70 % voting.

While many factors can be accounted for enhanced voting, credit must also be given to Election Commission for playing role in creating awareness programs. One of the programs called SVEEP (Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation) was commissioned in all the states during recent times.

Delhi will be going for polls tomorrow (December 4, 2013). I have been camping in Delhi for last 5 months. It is sickening to hear the rants of some political parties making false promises and boasting their past achievements. But as soon as the election campaigning ended yesterday evening (48 hours from the scheduled end of polling), it was refreshing to see voter awareness ads taking over! (after all, FM radios and TV channels and news papers have space now!). Today while I was traveling via Metro train, it was a pleasure to hear via public announcement system at Metro stations, the appeal by Election Commission to people to exercise their voting right! A catchy advt by ADR at one metro station was quite interesting: Accept no money, no liquor, and do cast your vote!

After all, election season is a like a festival for voters and why not spare some time to create more awareness among voters about the importance of voting power! A vote fetches you no money (under ideal conditions), but it is a weapon that you can use to send an elected representative into exile!


Electoral reforms Needed in India

Election The way last 2-3 years have witnessed the peoples’ movements (India Against Corruption), the nation has clearly come to realize that there are many fallacies with our system of politics and governance. Hence the need of reforms is being starkly felt!
The world’s largest democracy – as India is – needs more teeth so as to be optimally effective. The most powerful player of the democracy – the voter- is helpless because the politicians of today have exploited the situation and whether you vote or not, they are going to rule over you. What we need today most are:
1.Criminals should not be able to gain entry into electoral politics. Thus the move to debar charge-sheeted persons to contest is a welcome move.
2.The provision for ‘negative voting‘ so that a ‘bad’ person could be precluded from getting elected.
3.Vote to ‘recall’: even though a complex exercise, voters should have access to this electoral weapon!
4. Initiative: Where public could initiate a proposal. If it reaches certain threshold, the legislation must be bound to take it up and enact the law,
4.Anti-defection law should be made much more stringent
5.Post-poll alliances should be governed by certain rules.
6. Election Funding by State: This will greatly help reduce the influence of money in elections and motivate well-meaning people to try electoral politics.
7. Election Commission should audit the accounts of political parties. This will help decrease the influence of black-money.
Similarly there could be many more reforms to sharpen our electoral system.

I vote Nobody: 0- 49

My friend -Sachin Kamra from New Delhi- has sent the following article for publication on this blog. The last phase of the current Lok Sabha elections is due in next 3 days.

Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section ” 49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he/she doesn’t want to vote anyone! Yes such a feature is available, but obviously past + present leaders have never disclosed it.

This is called “49-O”.

Why should You go and say ” I VOTE NOBODY”. Because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be canceled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them.

This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way; of our whole political system. It is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public.

Please spread this news to as many as You know.

Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India . Show Your power, expressing Your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting. So don’t miss Your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this information to all.

Use your voting right for a better INDIA . Share this with as many as You can. Because sharing is caring. It is caring about our dear Mother India.

Negative Voting: Empower Us ASAP! Can Not Wait!

I was delighted to read this news item that SC is still acting upon the issue of negative voting as a voter’s right. This right still exists, but is not simple to carry out and majority of the people do not know about it. Negative voting as a right should be as simple as casting a ( positive) vote. And this right will be revolutionary in many steps: the right to cast a negative vote will bring the real power to the voters. If this is combined with a provision to set a minimum percentage of votes to be gained to emerge victorious, this will fundamentally weed out goons of our political system. Think about it: this is a real right which is long due.

The full news story is: (NDTV)

The Supreme Court on Feb 23, 2009 referred to a larger bench the question as to whether a voter should be permitted to cast a negative vote during elections.

A two-judge bench of Justices B N Agrawal and G S Singhvi said the issue needs to be examined by a larger bench as the question involved interpretation of a citizen’s fundamental right.

The bench also requested the Chief Justice to refer the matter to an appropriate larger bench for further consideration.

People Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), an NGO, had approached the apex court seeking directions to the Centre to ensure amendment to the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) so that a voter can mark “none of the above” in the electronic voting machine.

This is because presently a voter if he or she desires not to cast vote in favour of any candidate, he or she should mandatorily inform the presiding officer of the polling booth.

Such a pre-condition was violative of the citizens right under Article 19(2) (Freedom of Expression and Speech) and makes the voter vulnerable to threats and intimidation from political parties, the PUCL had state