Article by Saikat Banerjee
The term ‘Electoral Reform’ refers to the change in the systems of election process in order to improve on the desirability of the public in the election results. One of the prime factors in electoral reforms is the change in the process and procedure of voting System.
Electoral reforms are a must in India and to introduce these reforms, the younger generation and the middle-class need to be more sensitized hence making them more aware.
To make the younger generation more aware about the electoral reforms it is necessary that the universities in the country produces more people who knows the art of playing with democracy.
The role of the politician in this regard would be that, they would never allow these reforms.
There are 542 members in parliament since the 12th Lok Sabha elections, whereas during this period the population of the country has increased manifold and to add to that the voting age has been brought down to18 years.
To look at it in another way we will find that one Member of Parliament (MP) represents 1.2 million people which is something very unfortunate and needs to be changed immediately.
If we look into the issue of delimitation of constituencies in the country we will find that the boundaries have changed but the number of constituencies has remained the same. In this case the delimitation should have been in the number of voters and not the geographical boundaries.
Talking about the Indian Constitution it can be said that the Constitution has maintained its dignity of democracy for the last 62 years even when a developed country like United States failed.
Although the Indian constitution has had a success story for the last 62 years yet it is reaching the crossroads.
There are many reasons for it and one of them being the great disparity existing in Indian democracy where 61 Indians with billions of dollars regulate the one-third of GDP growth of the country whereas 80 per cent of the population earn only Rs 20 daily.
In order to effectively implement the electoral reforms and make it functional there are certain changes that have to be implemented by the Election Commission.
The first thing is the amount of money and muscle power that is involved in elections has to be very closely monitored and stern steps should be taken against people involving in the malicious use of money and muscle power.
Secondly the people of a constituency should be accorded the power to recall. In order to avoid illegal use of money in promoting one’s candidature and party for election, annual audit of the representatives from various parties should be regularly conducted.
There should be a close monitoring on people’s participation. In this age of technological advancement effective use and role of technology is very important.
If the process of voting instead of visiting the polling station with the help of technology can be made through the internet where one can visit the website and cast one’s vote then the voting percentage might be on higher side unlike the contemporary poor percentage of voters turning out to cast one’s vote. Besides this, the political parties should also function democratically with periodic elections, well defined code of conduct and subject to a stubborn anti defection law.
The beginning of electoral reforms should be first of all implemented at the student’s union level because it is the nursery of political parties where various students’ unions follow various political parties and is also supported by the political parties in various ways.
Like strong roots is the major reason behind a huge tree standing tall and facing all the natural atrocities, in that same way electoral reforms should be implemented first from the roots i.e. the student’s union.
Saikat Banerjee is an Assistant Professor at Department of English, Jaipur National University. Saikat can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org