EVMs causing threat to vote value in democracy

The vote value in Indian democracy is an important factor where every citizen who is qualified voter is vested with absolute right to vote for the person of his/her choice. The electoral system in India is passing through turbulence as there are several questions that need to be answered practically on his vote value.

Firstly, the right to franchise has to be exercised without fear or any temptation so that voters may vote according to his/her choice. During the past 60 years experience shows that both money and muscle powers have been playing their game to seek vote by any means, may be by money, muscle or by exploiting the emotional chords.

The vote value in Indian democracy is an important factor where every citizen who is qualified voter is vested with absolute right to vote for the person of his/her choice. The electoral system in India is passing through turbulence as there are several questions that need to be answered practically on his vote value.

Firstly, the right to franchise has to be exercised without fear or any temptation so that voters may vote according to his/her choice. During the past 60 years experience shows that both money and muscle powers have been playing their game to seek vote by any means, may be by money, muscle or by exploiting the emotional chords.

Rigging has threatened the credibility of elections to the Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabha. In spite of heavy dozes from the Apex Court, the rigging menace continues.

The new electoral process is being carried through the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which have been discarded in many democratic countries in the world. EVMs do not enjoy the credibility of holding free and fair polls. EVMs have been manipulated according to the dictates of the Presiding Officers. The electoral fraud can easily be played in the far-flunged areas where polling is held in the presence of illiterate rather untrained polling agents. A Presiding Officer is likely to be tamed by ruling party as it has happened. The EVMs showing 70 to 95 per cent polling in the hilly and backward areas where 60 to 70 per cent voters are illiterate or totally unaware about the working of the EVMs. I have personal experience that the Presiding Officers perform the duty to press the button for the voters. On the Voters’ Day, I would like to remind those who are at their giving end to work out an honest plan to ensure that Presiding Officers do not act as masters on the polling day. Any how after the poll is over, several Presiding Officers under the dictates of their superiors try to add the voting percentage.

Recently 75% poll was shown in Himachal Pradesh in the Assembly election. 99% poll was shown in the election of the Legislative Council where a voter was a Panchayat Member. This voting trend of highest percentage in the elections cannot be allowed because this is a dangerous signal against democracy and the Parliamentary system. This deserves urgent intervention of the Election Commission of India to ensure that Presiding Officers do not destroy the faith of the voters in the democratic process to respect the voters’ right which stands threatened in the EVMs rule.

Voters’ right may be honoured in case the doctrine of proportional representation is introduced. The number of the legislators may be determined by the percentage that political party secures in particular election.

This is unique in the parliamentary system in India that every voter has the same value of his vote no matter how big or small he or she may be in their social, economic or political status. The tragedy is that muscle and money powers have joined hands to muzzle the electoral process as it has been happening in the country. The Election Commission of India has to come out with a clear mandate that the state should take care of the election expenses of the recognized political parties. This is very important to save the sale of votes which amounts to devaluing the vote value.

The system needs overhauling so far as the trial in the election petitions is concerned. There are dozen of cases against the sitting legislators and ministers which mostly remained pending for five years on one pretext or the other. The law on election petitions needs to tightened with a strong note.

On the National Voters’ Day I would like to urge on the Election Commission of India to convene a working session with the representatives of all recognized political parties to work out a concrete, viable and practical resolution in regard to the prevailing anomalies, contradictions and failing clauses concerning the elections to the respective legislatures. This shall be in the interest of democracy and rule of law so that the vote value of each voter is upheld by the echelons of power.

As far J&K, I am pained to place on record that J&K was excluded by the Election Commission of India in the process of holding delimitation of the Assembly & Lok Sabha constituencies after the 2001 census. It was unfortunate that Govt. of India opposed Panthers Party petition before the Supreme Court of India supporting the Govt. of J&K against holding delimitation of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies. Census of 2011 has also been completed. There is no hope that the Govt. of J&K and the Union Govt. shall allow the voters in J&K to exercise their franchise according to the law that prevails in the entire country. Why J&K was excluded from the process of delimitation? Let the Election Commission of India justify this discriminatory and obnoxious decision of the Govt. of J&K and the Union of India. Delimitation of Assembly Constituencies is the fundamental of every voter and I hope and trust that the political parties of this country as well as the Election Commission of India shall come to rescue of voters’ right in J&K too.

N.B:- Excerpts of Chief Patron of National Panthers Party Prof. Bhim Singh’s presentation on National Voters’ Day which was held on 25th January, 2013 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Shri Hamid Ansari, the Vice President of India, Dr. Ashwini Kumar, the Union Law Minister, Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. V.S. Sampath and several noted parliamentarians, diplomats, bureaucrats and media persons were also present.