Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MPs for comprehensive bill for electoral reforms

MPs for comprehensive bill for electoral reforms

Agencies Posted: Nov 25, 2009 at 1724 hrs

New Delhi: Members cutting across party lines today asked the Government to bring a comprehensive bill for electoral reforms and advocated state funding of elections for strengthening the democratic framework of the country. Participating in the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2008, A Vijayaraghavan (CPI-M) said the election expenditure should be incurred by the government through the Election Commission and no other expenditure should be allowed.

He sought a reduction in the security deposit amount and making it free for the SC and ST candidates.

Supporting him, Veerpal Singh Yadav (SP) said elections should be on government expenses to prevent the role of money in electoral politics.

He pointed out that election observers become the guest of the collector during elections which compromises their independence and suggested that a separate set-up should be provided for them.

K Malaisamy (AIADMK) stressed on having a "comprehensive and exhaustive" reform saying several corrupt practices have crept into the system over a period of time.

He said the ruling party in the states misuse the official machinery and when he cited a recent election in Tamil Nadu, members of DMK, which is in power in the state, opposed the remark.

The AIADMK member also said there was a "big controversy" over Electronic Voting Machines and "even experts have said that it could be manipulated". He said even in the US, the conventional method of voting is adopted.

D Raja (CPI) favoured a "comprehensive approach" to the whole issue and pointed out that parties with 30 to 35 per cent votes form the government while candidates with barely 18 per cent votes win elections.

Advocating state funding of elections to check money power, Raja said recommendations of Indrajit Gupta Committee on electoral reforms should be implemented.

On exit polls, he said the media should follow its own code so that it does not influence the minds of voters.

Vijayraghavan said efforts should be made to free the elections from liquor barons, sugar lobby and iron ore mafia.

He said recently iron ore mafia controlled 50-60 MLAs in Karnataka asking the Government to start discussions with political parties on bigger electoral reforms issues.

Bharat Raut (Shiv Sena) said the deposit amount of Rs 25,000 as suggested in the Bill is meagre to achieve the purpose of keeping non-serious contenders out of fray.

He suggested that a person should not be allowed to contest polls from more than one constituency.

Raut said if the Bill is in favour of banning exit polls for elections, opinion polls should also be banned.

Sreegopal Vyas (BJP) said exit polls are surveys so they should not be banned.

Rashid Alvi (Cong) said India should adopt proportional representation mode of elections to get rid of casteism. He said Belgium, Austria, Australia, South Africa and Germany are some countries where such a process is in place.

Nominated member H K Dua said any electoral reforms bill should prevent criminals from contesting elections.

Tiruchi Siva (DMK) also spoke on the Bill.

Courtesy_

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