ALL INDIA ESSAY COMPETITION FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS ON HOW TO OVERCOME MONEY POWER AND MUSCLE POWER IN ELECTIONS?
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE STUDENTS
The terms muscle power and money power have unfortunately become synonymous with Indian elections.
* The targets for the power hungry Indian politicians are the simple minded and poor citizens living below poverty line, who are vulnerable to the temptations of easy money and vague promises due to their desperate economic and social conditions.
Such poor citizens are cajoled with bribing for votes and are also threatened with muscle power which is nothing but a by product of money power. Considering the prevalence of the twin evils of money power and muscle power, the results of the Indian elections cannot be considered as genuine mandate of the people.
* The evil practices start even at elections to the students unions in colleges and universities and gain full scale at the panchayat, municipal , state and national level.
* Today, the money and muscle power play such a dominant role in elections, that there is little chance for a common man with honest intentions and little resources to contest elections , even if he has the capability. The political parties are responsible for this situation, since they only consider the “winnability” (money power & muscle power) of the person for nominating him as the party candidate. Therefore, the political parties in India should be held totally responsible for denying the citizens good candidate to choose and thus killing the spirit of electoral democracy.
* The ground conditions have to be improved, so that men who value certain code of ethics are enabled to come to the centre stage of politics and contest in the elections.
* The use of money power and muscle power in elections are the direct consequence of corruption in government machinery , which have made money power and muscle power in elections possible. Therefore, without eradicating corruption, it would not be possible to defeat money power and muscle power in elections.
* Obviously, those in pivotal positions like Prime Minister and Chief Ministers should have the will and quality of mind set to combat corruption. If they are party to the corruption either as active participant or as silent spectator, the country has no hope of cleansing the electoral process.
* The Election Commission can play a positive role but it has it’s own limitations, since it depends upon the government machinery to conduct elections,which are under the control of many dishonest politicians.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SUGGESTIONS MADE BY THE STUDENTS
The students have given the following suggestions to overcome money power and muscle power in elections.
Curb black money circulation
Circulation of black money in the country which plays a big role in the elections can be largely curtailed by de monetising one thousand rupee currency notes and five hundred rupee currency notes immediately.
Fine tune the RTI Act
The transparency in the government machinery is the basic requirement to combat corruption. The Right to Information Act (RTI) should be further fine tuned and stringent punishment should be given to the government officials who do not provide the information sought by the citizens under RTI Act. Huge campaign should be made amongst the citizens to encourage them to seek information under RTI Act from the government whenever needed by them without any sense of fear,to ensure transparency in the government dealings.
Impose President’s rule three months before the general elections
The suggestion of Rajaji that the President’s rule should be imposed before the general elections should be accepted and implemented to ensure fair elections, even if it would require an amendment to the constitution. Ensuring that the politicians would not be in power at the time of conducting the general elections would go a long way in conducting fair elections in the country.
Rajaji had the wisdom to say this several decades back . But, today, it is unfortunate that the governments do not seem to have the will and segacity to accept this extremely important suggestions.
Importance of negative votes
The negative vote (not voting for anybody) should be accepted by the government and implemented and if any Parliamentary Act would be required for this, it should be ensured.
Citizens should have the liberty to reject all the candidates if they would feel like this and this should be considered as their fundamental right in a democratic society.
Need for fast track court for election disputes
A special permanent court must be constituted to look into all issues relating to elections at the state and central level , which should be a fast track court, which would have the authority to ban criminals and dishonest people from contesting in the elections.
Election observers are becoming laughing stock in some constituencies
The election observers have now become a laughing stock in many cases , since they are posted from other states and often do not understand local language, customs and practices. An independent group of election observers from local areas must be posted for each constituency chosen carefully from various walks of life, in addition to present practice of posting observers, if the election commission would so desire.
Deny permission for more than two terms
No MLA or M P should be permitted to contest in elections more than two times.The American law that no one can become President more than two times is a commendable step and similar regulations should be followed in India also.
Insist on internal democracy in political parties
Political parties should be made more accountable by being forced to do internal audits of their finances and producing evidence of internal democracy. At present, there is no indication that Election Commission exercises any visible or effective supervision in this regard.
Curb family interests
To curb vested family interests which often result in money power and muscle power, more than three blood relatives(from the same family) should not be allowed to contest from the same party.
Scrap MP/MLA constituency fund
The MP and MLA constituency fund should be scrapped forthwith, as there is lot of evidence of this being used for corrupt practices and generation of black money which is used during elections.
Introduce finger print electronic voting
Election Commission should introduce finger print based electronic voting machines, which would count a vote to be legal only when the finger print of the person matches with the one in the database. This would completely eliminate bogus voting. This would not be as difficult as it is thought now, considering the growth of information technology.
Permit online voting
Election Commission should also consider out of box ideas like online elections for allowing voters to vote online. This would not only ensure greater participation but would also ensure fearless voting , especially in terrorist dominated and violence prone areas.
Conduct knowledge test for candidates
While educational qualifications need not be insisted for the candidates contesting elections, they should be asked to undergo a knowledge test by election commission. This would ensure that ignorant people who have only money power and muscle power do not enter the fray and win elections.
Bring down cost of election campaign
The cost of election campaign should be brought down by encouraging campaign through print and visual media in the form of advertisements , for which concessional charge should be fixed by the government and part of the expenses should be subsidized by the government.
Maximum number of public meetings that can be conducted in each constituency by each party should be fixed and processions and posters should be banned. Anybody violating these regulations should be barred immediately for life from contesting elections.
Educate the voters
Ultimately, nothing is a substitute for the alert and responsible citizens. In recent times, many voters have complaints that their names have been removed from the rolls. In today’s conditions when the names of the voters are in the website, each citizen should take pain to see the website and ensure that his/her name is in the list. If not, they should put up a complaint to the election commissioner immediately. The Election Commission should do sustained campaign to educate the voters on this. NGOs can help the illiterate voters and those who do not have access to website in this regard.
Let the Election Commission assume a bigger role
The Election Commission and State Electoral Officers should be conscious of the fact that they are responsible not only for conducting the elections in a fair manner but also should ensure that right climate prevails in the country for conducting the elections.
In spite of the present disgusting political scenario in India created by politicians at various levels and the prevalence of corruption amongst the government machinery, the Election Commission should strive to assume a bigger role and responsibility for itself, rather than considering itself as a mere machinery for conducting the elections. People have such expectation from Election Commission and it should raise up to the occasion and meet the expectations of the people.
Give security to Election Commissioners / Electoral Officers
Those holding positions of Election Commissioners and Electoral Officers should be protected from threats from the politicians at the time of elections or later, by being given personal security by the government till they attain the age of 70, if they so desire.
Need for interaction between Election Commission and people belonging to lower income group
It is necessary that the Election Commissioners and State Electoral Officers should interact with the people belonging to lower income group living in rural areas (majority of the votes come from them and they are gullible) every month as a matter of priority, to educate them that selling their votes would cause both the country and their personal welfare dearly in the long run.
PRIZE WINNING STUDENTS IN ALL INDIA ESSAY COMPETITION ON "HOW TO OVERCOME MONEY POWER AND MUSCLE POWER IN ELECTIONS?"
Final Year B.E., ECE,
Park College of Engineering and Technology,Coimbatore-641659
Mr.Dudhatra Ghanshyam B.
1st Year M.V.Sc.
(Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology)
College of Veterinary Science & A.H.,
Dantiwada Agricultural University,
Sardarkrushingar,Banaskantha, Gujarat-385 506.
2nd Year M.C.A.,
Annamalai Nagar-608 002.Tamil Nadu
Mr. Amit Ranjan
Bachelor of Engineering
(Electrical 2nd Year)
B.A. I Year, (English Lit.)
2nd Year MBBS,
Saveetha Medical College,
University of Mysore,Mysore.
B.A.Eng.Lit. I Year
1st Year B.A. Eng Lit.,
Bharathidasan Govt. College for Women,
M.G. Road, Puducherry-605 003.
Student of B.A. LL.B. (Hons) IIIrd Year
Dr.Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University,Lucknow.