Citizens bat for reforms in the election process

Citizens bat for reforms in the election process

At a time when the state is facing the Assembly polls, a section of the people is of the opinion that electoral reforms are the need of the hour, given the vast electorate of which comprises over 100 crores.

While a section of the people favours adoption of technology to reduce human efforts and also human intervention, some suggest amendments to the Representation of People Act, to encourage participation of all people in the democratic process.

“Since February, when BJP president Amit Shah visited Mysuru in connection with the elections, no work is progressing in government offices. Later it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then AICC president Rahul Gandhi. Again it was Shah. Most of the district-level officials were put on protocol duty, while other officials were deputed to make necessary arrangements for the VVIPs under some Z or Z+ security cover. Somehow, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his colleagues inaugurated some yet to be completed buildings,” said Durgegowda, an electrical contractor.

“Whenever a person visits a government office, the ready excuse available is ‘Sahebru illa, election duty mele hogiddare’ (sir/madam is not there, has gone out on election work). ‘Election mugiyovaregu nammana enu kelbedi’ (don’t ask us for anything until the elections are over) or ‘Election mugida mele banni’ (come after the elections are over) are the common phrases. Why should so many officials be deputed to conduct the election process with so much of technology at our disposal,” he asked.

D Suresh Kumar, a Political Science lecturer, said, when I engage classes, my students surprise me with their innovative ideas. “Once, a student said, if a television channel, with limited resources and technology, can conduct extensive voting on a regular basis, for its reality shows, why can’t the government move forward and adopt voting via smartphones with fingerprint authentication?”

“Then, I too felt, other countries, with sparse population and also with ‘electoral college’ systems, can afford to hold old systems of voting. But, with over 100 crore voters and universal franchise, India should find innovative ways. Anyways, a voter identity card is necessary for voting. Our fingerprint authentication is possible via smartphones if our Aadhaar cards are seeded,” he said.

“The candidates should not be given much time for manipulation of the voters. The election process should be over in a few days. On day one, online nominations should be invited. On day two, scrutiny should be held. The third day should be for withdrawal. On the fourth day, voting should be open across the constituencies for just one or two hours. The candidates should have emerged as leaders in advance and the voters should be able to recognise them and vote for them at any given point in time,” he said.

R Guruprasad, a retired professor, asked if the terms for presidents and vice-
presidents can be limited, why not for MLAs, MLCs and MPs? “Each person should be allowed only two terms as a people’s representative, in view of encouraging participation of more number of people in the democratic process. Otherwise, a person will get continuously elected for six, seven or even eight terms. After his death, his wife and later his children, then his grandchildren will become his successors. Again we fall into the trap of hereditary rule. To free from this trap, we need to effect an amendment to the Representation of People Act,” he said.

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