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Electoral reform

While seated on dharna/relay fast at Patna, many kept asking why do we elect bad elements as our representatives in .....



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  #1  
04-09-2011
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Electoral reform


While seated on dharna/relay fast at Patna, many kept asking why do we elect bad elements as our representatives in parliament and assemblies. The usual refrain was we did not have any choice. Even though we call it democracy, we the electorate do not really have choice. And that is because we are forced to choose from amongst four or five bad elements. So no matter whom we elect, he or she will engage in making money to recover the money spent on electioneering. Its like someone making investments in business in order to earn profit. One tries to reach the break-even point at the earliest and in the process indulges in all kinds of loot of public money. In the process the poor electorate gets crushed and he can do nothing but to look up to the providence for deliverance. When that deliverance does not happen, frustration comes to fore. For most of the evils that prevail in our polity, election is a factor. So, the need of the hour is electoral reform. We must put our heads together to develop a mechanism whereby only honest (unlike Dr. Manmohan Singh who comes to Rajya Sabha on false affidavit) and diligent people are sent to the parliament and assemblies. Ours is a massive country. Developing a mechanism will not be easy. But then, we must apply our mind to this job at hand if we really want to get rid of the menace called corruption.

Last edited by NCSinha; 04-09-2011 at 02:43 PM : needed pruning
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  #2  
04-12-2011
avinash.gudapati's Avatar
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Members of general public must know as to who they have voted for. This could be known from the electronic voting machine with the help of an attached printer for each & every single vote cast and i'll be pleased if we have national identity cards by 2014. They could get automatically renewed when a voter casts his vote in electronic computerized voting machine with an attached vote pre-view printer & national id card's renewal machine.. It will encourage voters to cast their vote in an election and that in turn will strengthen our democracy.
__________________
AVINASH

Last edited by NCSinha; 04-12-2011 at 12:32 PM : it called for improvement
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  #3  
04-24-2011
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Red face Choice of " no vote"

Members of general public must know as to who they have voted for. This could be known from the electronic voting machine with the help of an attached printer for each & every single vote cast and i'll be pleased if we have national identity cards by 2014. They could get automatically renewed when a voter casts his vote in electronic computerized voting machine with an attached vote pre-view printer & national id card's renewal machine.. It will encourage voters to cast their vote in an election and that in turn will strengthen our democracy.
Voters should be given the choice of " no vote" in the electronic voting machine as Anna Hazare is demanding. This will encourage good people (candidates) entering to politics and also will encourage people to vote who refrain from voting due to lack of good candidates.
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  #4  
04-24-2011
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"choice no vote"

Gentle men "choice no vote" is the best thing to be emplimented in polling machine. Further there should a certain infrastructure of Government. As we have seen walk out of the opposites in lok sabha and vidhan sabha only for the party issue which results in obstacle in government work. I have never seen any walkout of opposits for price hike or poverty in my life. So for minister should be made with the percentage to the seats win by all parties that means stop the formula of "all ministers from only one party" coming with majority. Next period of the ministers should depends on predicided achievments(goal) that means fully corporate system.
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  #5  
04-24-2011
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Talking "No choice" votes.. can even be used to reject "the first past the post". Here's how...

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. IT'S AN UNUSUAL IDEA & HAS A NOVEL SOLUTION:

In a nutshell my suggestion means:
* NO CHANGES to the constitution
* A party formed with the objective of ONLY being a Watchdog
* Select eminent politically neutral people, like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, and Arvind Kejriwal, rather than any elected people, run the party affairs
* Its candidates, known good locally eminent people, will stand in every constituency in every election
* Seek to consolidate all 'Don't like any candidate' votes
* Seek to consolidate all NEGATIVE votes (i.e. 'I want to defeat this candidate' votes)
* In essence, become the party to be voted when no party or candidate is worth voting for
* Try to be the 'King Maker' party, not a party that seeks to come to power; won't assume power even if in majority
* Don't stand for any subjective policies (e.g., 'secular Vs pseudo-secular') or dogmas (capitalism Vs Communism Vs Socialism)
* They will only support other parties that will objectively provide good governance, regardless of policies and dogmas
* Try to pull down Governments that indulge in patently bad acts like corruption, divisive politics, etc.

I feel none of these requires any changes in the electoral system.


Details follow in the next (follow-up) post...

Ganesan.
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  #6  
04-24-2011
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Details of the Suggestion

Details:

A lot of people have attempted to find a solution to the Indian political maladies before... like suggesting a Presidential form of elections at one extreme to indirect forms of elections starting with local self government, state funding of elections, prescribing qualifications for candidates, and the like. Each has its merits, but we have not so far met with much success primarily because all of these involve reforming our electoral processes, which can only be done by the very politicians who would see a threat from such reforms.

That should not stop us from keeping on attempting till we find a lasting solution. Because I believe we are a great nation suffering from some very bad politics and political leadership. We certainly deserve better.

I outline below a simple way by which we could transform our political system. The small difference in my approach compared to other approaches is that, here we don't have to depend on our 'political parties' to bring about the changes.
First, let's see the problems of Indian politics today, and what we'd want to see happen.


1. People vote for the parties or candidates in elections not because they like them, but because of the TINA factor ('There Is No Alternative). Even if voters know of a good candidate standing in the elections in their constituency, they are forced not to vote for that person on most occasions because such a candidate is unlikely to win, and so they vote for a second or third 'worst' candidate to avoid electing the 'worst' candidate. We need make it possible for good people to win the elections.

2. Politics has become a 'high stakes' game. No wonder political parties invest part of their ill-gotten money and muscle power to capture political power perpetually. Even honest and competent persons of eminence have been found to tolerate and preside over corrupt, inefficient and atrocious governments because their only alternative is to leave the entire field to the unscrupulous. We need to make it impossible for leaders who are corrupt, inefficient and bad in any respect from hijacking power.

3. Politics breeds corruption which feeds politics, and the vicious circle appears unbreakable. Most of the black money is either generated by politicians, or with their blessings, or with their acquiescence. We need to break the vicious cycle.

4. Politics has become a dirty game, politicians freely indulging in looting and murders. We need to remove the dirt from our politics.

5. Instead of politicians and political parties focusing on what's good for the people, they focus on what will get them votes, by hook or crook. And the few good individuals who attempt to correct it cannot succeed, because the political mafia system won't permit it.

6. While honest people typically shun politics, people with no scruples find it just their kind of game. They stoop to any levels to conquer. In today's political system, it is extremely difficult for well meaning people to stop this rot, as they have to either be outsider critics or insiders who tolerate the ills just to survive.

I can go on...

How do we bring about such a change in Indian politics without changing the constitution?

Let me present a scenario. Please reflect on it and react.


Let's imagine we have a new political party, at the national level, whose name is suggestive of 'watchdog'. It would be lead by a group of very eminent apolitical leaders (say, 12-25 eminent personalities drawn from different States and different fields), who won't contest any elections, nor hold any posts, but they will generally be acceptable to most of the people across all cross-sections in India. They won't become CM, PM or whatever. They would all be not only people's favourite leaders, but also people with impeccable credentials, with no criminal track record... ideally, popular figures like Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and the like. All the decisions in the party would be taken by this team.

This Party would have no 'typically political' ideology except facilitating good governance. It would have no stated position on any issue, whether it is economics, culture, caste, religion, or whatever. The constitution of the party would be simple. This party would not indulge in any agitations. Only the party's appointed spokespersons would speak in public. There would, of course, be inner party democracy giving an opportunity for the members to speak within its internal forums.

This party will be unlike all other political parties. The goal of the party will be NOT to come to power, but to reform politics, acting as a watchdog.

A good candidate with excellent credentials within the constituency (should not be from any of the existing political parties) would be selected by the party leadership to contest from each constituency. The party would appeal to the people to elect a 'really good candidate' or the candidate of a party in whom they have total faith. If they don't find such a party or candidate, this party would request the people to vote for its candidate. This is the equivalent of the 'NONE OF THEM' vote, which many people have been talking about. Except that, in this model, we don't need a constitutional reform to make this possible.

Let's see what will happen if this were to happen.

When people are dissatisfied with all the candidates and/or parties (which is often the case), they now have the good option of electing a 'WATCHDOG', without letting their votes go to waste. They don't have to fear that if they don't vote for the second or third worst candidate/ party, the worst candidate/ party would win, because the 'WATCHDOG' could well win. If more people prefer the 'WATCHDOG', the constituency would have successfully prevented most or all the bad candidates/ parties from winning. The number of independent candidates would come down, as there will no longer be any need for it. The votes of all those who don't like any party/ candidate would get consolidated. This will even, very likely, increase the % of votes cast. With media available to popularize it, this party won't have to spend much money in getting itself popularized.

What if a problem arises if the WATCHDOG party's candidates win a majority or if there's a hung parliament/ assembly where it is not possible for anyone to form a Government without the support of the WATCHDOG party? Isn't there the possibility of division within the ranks of the elected representatives of the WATCHDOG party? Since the party has no interest in coming to power, and its members are committed to vote 'en bloc' as per the decision of the Party Presidium, its members would have no publicly stated differences of opinion. And even if the other political parties try to influence some of its members, it won't help them much, as the options of its members are extremely limited.

So, soon enough, hopefully in the very first elections, a lot of the candidates of this 'WATCHDOG' party could get elected. And this Party leadership will be able to dictate to the other parties about what it expects from them if they need the support of this Party. This Party is not obliged to support any political party only based on their numerical strength in the Parliament/ Assembly; it would support parties only based on good policies and good governance.

On subjective/ divisive issues, like whether a State has to be divided or not, whether reservations should be extended or not, etc., the WATCHDOG party could take a stand based on the majority view of the Party Presidium, or it could remain neutral.

On objective issues, like corruption, maintenance of law and order, upholding the constitution, etc., the Party could take a firm view, and bring down Governments, if need be. If it becomes necessary, it may even support smaller parties to come to power, but on the premise of good governance. It should wield the very same kind of hold that members of smaller political parties are able to wield in an alliance, except that this hold will be of a positive nature.

When this happens, it's possible that the % of votes cast in the elections could go up significantly, as people would have a 'real choice'.

I'm of the opinion that this can completely transform the Indian polity. (In fact, as a model of political system, it could even transform world politics.)

The goal of this party is to make its presence felt, and make political parties so accountable to the people that, otherwise, people have an option of not electing any of the major 'political' parties. And in good time, if all goes well, at least in theory, the number of the elected members of this 'WATCHDOG' party should come down, as politics should have, by then, been transformed substantially.

Ganesan.
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  #7  
04-25-2011
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Cool Solution more problematic

Far too many adjectives tend to mar prospects of a solution. Who will decide who is a 'good' candidate and who will determine what are the 'excellent' credentials. Problem with most of the adjectives is that they change colours with change in nouns. And what is good for me may not be good for you; what appears to be excellent to you may appear to be horrific to me. Any democracy will have to follow a process and a process is usually a long drawn one. Election is a must in a democracy. Besides, for a country to grow stability is a must. This solution that is suggested will create more problems and will also create an extra-constitutional authority that would do and decide things without being accountable to anyone. Remember Sanjay Gandhi? Today Sonia Gandhi is also an extra-constitutional authority. NAC has no constitutional sanction.She wields more power than the prime minister or the government he heads. Have things improved? In fact, things have worsened and that is why we have a movement against corruption. Drastic change is not required. What is required is the implementation of various laws we already have. We have to develop an administrative/police infrastructure that is responsive and responsible that can ensure governance. Through Lokpal India could achieve that.

Last edited by NCSinha; 04-25-2011 at 08:24 AM
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  #8  
08-27-2011
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Hemant

I have 2 suggestions for Electoral reforms:

1. our ruling group actually represent very low percentage of voters. The ruling group now get 25%-30% of 60% -65% votes polled on average.So in effect they represent only 15-20% of our voters.Democracy means rule by majority. So I suggest that we can either change our voting system to either a. Alternate Voting system which was recently proposed in U K. In this system the voter has to give preferential voting i e by numbering all contestants by their choice. While counting the votes received by candidates getting votes as per their next preference between top two contenders in second round. This will esure we get representatives with more than 50 % voting. or we can go for b. Voting in 2 rounds as prevalent in France. In this ftop two contenders are voted again in 2nd round.While first option is a bit complex for voter but completes the voting process in one go it is big exercise to repeat in 2 nd round in 2nd option but with EVMs it should not be that difficult. This option was also suggested by constitution review comitee during NDA rule.

2. For State funding of elections : This has become a big issue. I suggest that government should set aside a fixed sum constituency wise for both Loksabha and Assembly elections.After election results are out each contestant (including independents) who has received more than a prefixed percentage of votes polled say 25% be paid their actual expenses subject to ceiling fixed.Thereafter the fund left during the polls be pooled together statewise and distributed amongst contesting political parties / groups getting more than a predefined percentage (say 10%) on pro rata basis based on votes polled by their candidates.This combines state funding with performance filtering non serious candidates & groups.
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  #9  
09-22-2011
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Good sugessions are coming we shoud put our best effort to implement
strong law for GOOD GOVERNANCE & ELECTORAL REFORM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

JAY HIND
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  #10  
10-02-2011
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Employer pays, employee receives. Employee is obliged to deliver, as wished by the employer. Polity is employer and polity-cian is an employee.
Let us, first, get out of Mai-Baap mentility.
Democracy was re-discoverd by Americans. Talk to an Indian-American friend. He will use "taxpayers money" term often in his conversation. Every penny spent by our representative, is our hard earned money.
We pay LAGAAN. We pay it indirectly. We pay, when we buy, our food, clothes, medicines etc. The LAGAAN is collected in the name of Central Excise duty, Custom duty or Value added tax that is added to MRP of every goods sold. It is collected to serve the employer, that is us.
If I give my employee Rs 4000, and ask him to manage my house for 15 days in my absence, then, I have all the right in the world, to request him for financial explanations.
And if I am not satisfied then I have right to take appropriate action on him.
Our minds have been programed by thousands of years of oppression to be subservient. Democracy is an experiment on Indian soil. And we have failed it.
We are RULERS.
Every person in Vaishali Ganrajya called himself a King.
Consul, The elected head in Ancient Rome, was one among the equals. When power would get into his head, and he would begin to work towards selfish goals, he was often removed by the fellow parliamentarians.
The President of America is one among the equals.
We have failed to understand Democracy. We beg for alms from the very person chosen by us, to serve us. Command him or remove him through ballot.
They behave like kings because we behave like subjects.
As for Electoral reforms, read my thread, "GOOD-BYE DEMOCRACY, WELCOME MY-CRACY", in the section opinion and polls, on this site.

Last edited by goenkavijay89; 02-06-2012 at 12:28 AM
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