Electoral/Constitutional reforms I would like to see

After looking at the past few elections and also looking at the way the govt is run, these are a few of the electoral/constitutional reforms which I believe would help in trying to improve the political situation of the country. It is quite a huge list, but i do hope somebody reads through this.

– Make it mandatory to vote in elections. In the world’s largest democracy, it is pathetic to see that more than half the eligible people to vote do not vote and this after repeated efforts and pleas to make them vote. My idea is to make it into some fundamental duty which every citizen of India should fulfill.

– Have the option to reject all the candidates from the constituency in the EVM only. It being a secret ballot why should I let others know that I am not going to vote for anyone else.And going by the precedence even this time not many of the presiding officers in the polling station knew of what to do in case a person decides to reject all the candidates

– Have some system to make that negative vote count. Not sure how, but may be something like if the candidate gets negative votes amounting to more than 1/n th of the total votes polled, where n is the total number of candidates in the fray, then he/she cannot be elected.

– Some measure to reduce the number of independent candidates. Right now there are constituencies where nearly 70 odd independent candidates stand for election. I don’t know how many of them get more than 10 votes. Also reducing the number of independents also will lead to reduction in the cost of printing the extra ballot sheets and EVMs

– Try to hold union and state elections together. I feel that it will lead to a major savings in the cost of holding the elections

– In cases where a person gets elected from one party, then resigns soon after, joins another party, then the expenses for conducting the elections have to be taken from that person only. After all, he was the reason for having this extra election and we are not a rich country anyways. The same holds for people elected to state assemblies standing for parliamentary elections and winning and for the people who stand from more than one constituency and win more than one. It is not being conducted to show off your strength. And if you think the elections are a show of strength, then pay for showing off your strength.

– A fixed term for parliament will help, I believe. At least that way we know the people who we have elected have 5 years to do something.

– A way to question our elected representatives. Pardon me if this is already there in our constitution, but I need to have the right to question my elected representative about what he has done in that year or not done. Something like the General Body Meeting where we get to know what the person is doing. Or at least make sure that they release an activity report every year or twice every year.

– Make it mandatory for the prime minister to be an elected MP of the Lok Sabha and not Rajya Sabha. I am not having anything against any particular party, but my train of logic is this way. Every one believes that Lok Sabha election is the only election where they elect someone to represent them. Now a Prime Minister who is the leader of the country has to be someone who is elected by the people directly. Whatever the constitution says we all know that Rajya Sabha election is no way an election where the people’s representatives are elected. If a party is sure that they will be elected to power, then I don’t think they have any reason not to field their prime minister candidate from one of the constituencies. After all if he/she is good enough to lead the country, then the people will elect him/her.

– Some way of curbing the influence of the regional parties in the national politics. Now I know this is easier said than done. But the reason for me putting this here is what we have seen in the recent past. Too many regional parties are holding the national govt captive in order to achieve some of their regional issues/rivalries or whatever settled. Some way to curb this is the need. What can be done? Say have something like the regional parties are free to contest the state elections on their own, but if they are having candidates for the national elections, then they need to align themselves with one of the two/three main parties. And they need to do it before the elections and have to stay with them for the entire term of the parliament. The penalty may be something severe like de-recognizing the parties who fail to adhere to this or shift allegiance to another front. This way at least they do not have the power to threaten the government that they would withdraw support if they do not do some damn A, B or C

After mentioning all these things let me question myself too… Which individual or the party has the balls to get these reforms passed? I am sorry to say that though one or two of them might try to implement a few of them, not all of these will be implemented. And of course, I sincerely do not believe the congress-led present govt has neither the will power nor the interest in implementing it.

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