Governor for more teeth to SECs

Speaking after inaugurating the 13th national-level State Election Commissioners’ conference in Bangalore, Bhardwaj said SECs should be given more teeth and financial autonomy to execute its mandate of conducting elections to local bodies.

Bhardwaj, a former union law minister, said he would hold discussions with Ministry of Law and Justice and also the Election Commission of India (ECI) in a bid to bring all political parties on a common platform and evolve a consensus on the issue.

The Governor felt SECs should have powers and functions at par with that vested with the ECI. The ECI can also pass on copies of electoral rolls to SECs for conducting polls to urban and rural local bodies, he added.

President’s rule

Bhardwaj suggested that the model code of conduct should be brought into force three months ahead of elections to ensure free and fair polls. “We can also think about imposing President’s rule for three months with the Election Commission managing everything in the states,” he said.

Chairman of the Standing Committee of State Election Commissioners A K Dubey said SECs had to depend on their respective State governments for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), computers and also manpower. Besides, there were wide discrepancies in the tenure of state election commissioners ranging between three to six years. SECs should also be given the power to fix reservation and take up delimitation of wards.

Preparation of voters’ list, monitoring election expenditure, best electoral practices were among the topics that were discussed at the day-long conference. Representatives from as many as 20 SECs participated in the conference.

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