Electoral Reforms

Though the present form of democracy is popular with the common people many defects have crept into it. There is free and wide use of muscle and money power to influence voters. Diesel and petrol, which create a heavy drain on foreign exchange, are used by candidates as if they were flowing like water. There are no significant qualifying standards set for candidates with the result there is a massive influx of criminal and undesirable elements in to the government, in the states as well as at the Center. In coalitions even a weak partner with minimal numbers is capable of exerting undue pressure and distorting policies. There have been countless instances where minor coalition partners have become either corrupt or unscrupulous and had a negative impact on the entire democratic system with no legal consequences.
Considering these Prout declares:
All election expenses of a candidate will be borne by the government. After the registration process of the candidates is complete all candidates will be sponsored by the state and will only be allowed to use the same platforms for promoting their campaigns. All candidates will be provided equal opportunity for publicizing and promoting their programmes and ideology.
No candidate will be allowed to use private motor vehicles, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers or magazines for publicity. Instead, every candidate will have equal access to these facilities at government expense.
No candidate will be declared elected unless they secure over 50% of the votes. To avoid the possibility of no candidates achieving greater than 50% of votes, voters will have to indicate their second preference. Votes not carrying such a preference shall be cancelled.
Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers will be elected in a similar manner by the combined strength of both Houses at the Center and in the States. Where there is only one House that House will elect its Chief Minister.
In order to qualify as a candidate the main qualification will be that the candidate is a moral person. Educational and other qualifications will also be there. Criminals, smugglers, mafia-men, drunkards or similar anti-social elements will not be allowed to contest.
The election commission will be a constitutional body and will be fully independent. The election commission alone will decide who is fit for contesting elections and its order will be final subject to one review only.
If charges have been laid against a person in a court of law in a criminal case carrying a maximum sentence of two years or more this shall be considered a sufficient reason to debar the person from contesting elections until he/she is exonerated by the court. A pending appeal against the sentence will not be a sufficient reason for allowing someone to contest.
The above process will ensure the elimination of muscle and money power from the political arena and will also weed out criminal elements. At the same time it will go a long way towards encouraging moralists and worthy (though poor) people to be a part of the political process.
During the past 46 years, after the passing away of Pt. Nehru, our experience with the present democratic system has been very disappointing and there is a demand for change. There has been a long period of “aya ram gaya ram” which threatened the stability of the government. With governments made up of coalitions, heads of government are forced to accept pressure from even weaker coalition partners with very few numbers. Many times the government in power has been forced to cave in to the unsavory demands of minority parties and ignore their unscrupulous and corrupt ways. On occasions there have also been unresolved clashes between state and central governments when the state has a different political dispensation than the center. Further confrontations have ensued between the government and the judiciary who, in the uncertain environment of political instability (and thus weakness), appear to have usurped even the administrative responsibilities of the state. Numerous other examples exist.
In light of these problems Prout states that there is an urgent necessity for the creation of a Supreme Supervisory Authority which can play the role of watchdog over all three organs of the State i.e. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary and, whenever occasion demands, can take remedial measures without waiting for the ‘full term’ of the concerned body to expire.
This proposal should be discussed and debated at the grassroots level. For this seminars and debates need to be organized at wider levels and a consensus obtained for giving the President broad executive powers to act with speed and strength through his Presidential Board whenever such eventualities arise. In order that the status and importance of the President be recognized and accepted by the country at large the President should be elected directly by the people with a majority of over 50%.
Similar provisions can be introduced in the states with the creation of ‘Raj Pal Boards’ in the course of time.
PBI will work in this direction henceforth.
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