Hindi] An important question rose in the movement against corruption. A lot more money far above the expense limit set by the Election Commission will be spent in elections. In ongoing Vidhan Sabha elections most candidates of big political parties will spend more than Rs 1 crore on an average. In a sting operation done by a TV channel some candidates said that they will spend many time smore than Rs 1 crore. Despite the cap on election spending set by the election commission is Rs 16 lakhs. It is obvious all the money spent above Rs 16 lakhs will come from corrupt means and is black money. This means that corruption reeks in the very foundation of our political system. How can we expect that such public representatives will make a strong law against corruption?
Dr Sandeep Pandey, member, national Presidium, Lok Rajniti Manch and Vice President, Socialist Party, said that at present, there are more than 300 'crorepati' parliamentarians and more than 150 parliamentarians who have criminal cases registered against them. Is it true that people want such candidates to represent them in the parliament? It is clear that money and muscle power is dominating the elections. Dr Pandey is a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for emergent leadership.
Dr Pandey added: In the movement against corruption an important question challenged us that how to check election candidates who are corrupt or have criminal background. For now, one way to ensure this rests with the common people. If the people feel that they don't like to vote for any election candidate or no candidate deserves their vote, then they can demand a form (Form 17A) under section 49 (O) and register that they reject all candidates in their constituency. Although people have a right to reject all candidates but very few people know are conscious about it. Those who are aware of the right to reject all candidates face lot of problems because Form 17A is usually not available at polling booths. Officials don't want that people should exercise their right to reject all candidates. If the people start to reject all the candidates in a big way then so-called 'democracy' as foreseen by corrupt and criminal candidates will be in danger.
Dr Sandeep Pandey said that just like the election commission or election officers are issuing advertisements to raise awareness about elections and encouraging people to exercise their right to vote, in the same manner they should also make the people aware of their right to reject all corrupt or criminal candidates under Section 49 (O). Why not this option to reject all candidates provided to the people on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) or polling boxes? If this option to reject all candidates was provided on the EVMs then it would have been so easy for people to exercise their right. This is certain that if people are provided an option to reject all candidates then voting percentage will substantially increase. Just like it is our right to vote for a candidate in the same way it is also our right to reject all candidates. The role of election commission in this regard is not clear.
Citizen News Service(CNS), India/Thailand
Spy Ghana News, Accra, Ghana
Elites TV News, California, USA