AIR spotlight summary on “Electoral Reforms in India”
- There has been an intense talk by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi about having elections for the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections together to save lot of time, money which comes from the state exchequer and enormous exercise of people who are going to exercise their franchise. It is also because the elections of the states are staggered. If some state government which is duly elected hasn’t served a full 5 year term then problems will arise in having joint elections.
- Election Commission of India is an autonomous body created by the constitution. Its work since the first election in 1952 has been stupendous. Hardly anyone criticises the autonomous organisation because the great work it does in conducting elections in the biggest democracy in the world.
Reasons for conducting simultaneous elections
- One of the major observations since the first election is that the elections in India has become highly commercialised.
- Repetitive elections disturb the social, economic and political activities of the state and country as a whole.
- Repetitive elections also disturb the social fabric and developmental activities of the state.
- Election has high cost of expenditure in India. It debars the honest, sincere, hardworking and competent candidate by devoid of means or incapable of fighting the elections.
- Average cost of expenditure of holding an assembly election is between 8 to 10 crores per assembly constituency. The cost is much higher for parliamentary elections.
- India must think strongly on this line and may be in next few years we must be able to conduct simultaneous elections. For the country like India it is not impossible and is doable with little bit of extra efforts.
- In India there are 10 lakh polling stations. If we have to conduct elections for both parliament and assembly then 10 lakh polling station becomes 20 lakh. For every polling station we require 2 ballot boxes or 2 EVM machines. Today we have roughly 12 to 13 lakh functional electronic voting machines. So there are shortages of over 8 lakh EVMs. This can be produced within short period of time.
Issue of Black Money
- We have 19000 registered political parties in the country and every other day a political party is getting registered. Election Commission does feel that many of them are used as conduits for siphoning of black money. It is a fact that maximum black money in India is spent during elections. The political establishment in the country must have the will to fight the menace of black money. To overcome the usage of black money from political system is not an ordinary task. The political system must also come under RTI.
- When the constitution has authorised the Election Commission to conduct free and fair election, whenever there is use of money power by any particular party or an individual, Election Commission should have freedom to stop these kinds of illegal activities.