हिंदी] Some very clear suggestions were submitted yesterday to the Chief Election Commission of Uttar Pradesh state to conduct forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections in February 2012 in a more democratic and fair manner. Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and Vice President, Socialist Party and member, National Presidium, Lok Rajniti Manch, has submitted a list of five strategic recommendations to increase accountability and transparency in the electoral process.
We are reproducing the letter Dr Sandeep Pandey wrote to Mr Umesh Sinha, Chief Election Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh below:
To: Shri Umesh SinhaChief Election CommissionerUttar PradeshDated: 12 January 2012
Subject: Some suggestions for conducting elections in a more democratic and fair manner
Dear Umesh ji,In continuance with our discussion earlier today in your office I would like to submit to you the following suggestions:
(1) Kindly make the 'shadow register' as well as the expenses reported by the candidate public on a regular basis - so that people and voters can monitor if your 750 microobservers and other officials are documenting all expenses and report if any is missing, subject to due verification of course. This will increase transparency in the election process and also up the accountability of candidates and monitor how honestly they are reporting their own electoral expenses.
(2) The common expenses incurred by a Party, for example in hiring helicopters and chartered airplanes, should be divided equally among all candidates or at least among candidates of that party for whom this serivce is used. Otherwise, it'll not be a level playing field for candidates belonging to smaller parties and independent candidates.
(3) The expenses incurred in covering the statues of Ms. Mayawati and those of elephants should be borne by BSP. Even though these were built at government expense but because of the very fact that they are required to be covered as they are associated with a particular party, this party should bear the expenses. More so, as they were built only during the term of last government. The public is being burdedned twice, first for the construction of these statues and then to cover them.
(4) There should be ban on established parties to use their symbol for campaigning before the symbols are alloted to independent candidates. Essentially, all candidates should get the same period for campaigning with their symbols in order to ensure fairness of the contest.
(5) An officer of the Election Commission must sit outside the Secretariat building, where a 'pass' is required for entry, so that she is accessible to any ordinary voter or representatives of smaller parties and independent candidates who may not always succeed in convincing the staff of Commission to issue them a 'pass.'
Sandeep PandeyLok Rajniti Manch and Socialist PartyA-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016: Phone: 0522 2347365, 9415022772 (Arundhati Dhuru)