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Electoral Reform?

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Dec 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Prime Minister rendra Modi has welcomed the Election Commission’s so-called electoral reform of banning anonymity behind dotions of more than Rs 2,000 to political parties. At present the limit for anonymous dotions is Rs 20,000. To most people this is no electoral reform at all. All that a political party has to do now is to split up an anonymous dotion of Rs 20,000 to ten anonymous dotions of Rs 2,000 each. All that is needed is a bit of extra work. And since the dotions are going to be anonymous ones, political parties are saved even the bother of inventing mes for the increased number of smaller dotions of Rs 2,000 each. There is really nothing new about the Election Commission regarding small pointless initiatives as “electoral reform”. Over the years, the Election Commission can take very little credit for any worthwhile electoral reform that has served to clean up the any of the several aberrations that we have had to live with over the years. The most significant failure of the Election Commission has been its ibility to prevent crimil elements from contesting elections even though the crimil or lawbreaking antecedents of such candidates are stated in the affidavits filed along with the nomition papers. If our legislatures and Parliament have more than the permissible number of members with crimil records (according to their own statements, mind you), something has to be grossly amiss with the functioning of the Election Commission. There is no other institution in our democratic set-up that can keep out crimil elements from the Legislature—from lawbreakers becoming lawmakers—other than the Election Commission. But over the years, it has completely failed in discharging this vital duty of protecting the people from lawbreaking lawmakers. It is high time the Election Commission armed itself with the requisite laws to effectively prevent candidates with crimil backgrounds or habitual lawbreakers from contesting elections, when the Election Commission ought to be fully armed with all the laws to prevent lawbreakers from becoming our lawmakers. Even if some crimil elements might refrain from filing truthful statements about their past while filing nomition papers to contest general elections, it would be the duty of the Election Commission to verify the antecedents of all candidates before accepting their nomition papers.

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