From a Correspondent
Shillong, Jan 7: With the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly polls likely to be held next month, the Hills State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) submitted a memorandum to the visiting officials of the Election Commission of India (ECI) headed by VS Sampath.
The memorandum signed by the party leaders including the president of the party, MLA HS Lyngdoh, though late, is an effort by the party to attract the Commission’s attention to certain issues that the HSPDP considers to be crucial to the polls.
The HSPDP joins another regional party, the United Democratic Party in raising concerns over the use of EVMs, “Electronic Voting Machines being man-made are open to tampering and malfunctioning, giving room to manoeuvring with motives prejudiced against other candidates,” the party said.
The memorandum further stated that to achieve fair elections, India needs to revert to the familiar and transparent system of manual voting, starting with 2013 Assembly polls in Meghalaya.
Another concern raised by the party was the gap between the voting day and counting day, “The practice of having a long gap between voting and counting is peculiar to India.”
The party suggested that since the counting of votes will be done at the CRD Block headquarters and sub-divisional headquarters, counting of votes immediately after the voting process will not be much of a hassle and it will also reduce the security expenses for the interval period between voting and counting.
Further the party strongly recommended, “Traditional institutions, namely village and local Durbars in the State should be empowered to act as preventives, correctives and deterrents to control the rampant display of money and muscle power during elections.”
Lastly, the party highlighted the need of educated and literate law and policy makers in the State, and the HSPDP suggested that every election candidate would be allowed to contest elections only if the candidate has achieved a prescribed level of education.
With so less time for the elections, it will be interesting to see whether the Election Commission of India takes into account any of the suggestions and recommendations by the HSPDP.