Election Commissioner Harishankar Brahma has called for setting up an independent Secretariat for the Election Commission a la the Lok Sabha secretariat so that the constitutional body could maintain its independence and neutrality.

Participating in a seminar on electoral reforms and democratic betterment, organised by a civil society group — People for Nation — here, Mr. Brahma stressed the need for more “coercive” powers for the Commission.

“The candidates in the poll have increasingly been demanding more personal expenditures at the cost of the public exchequer. This has clearly eroded the faith of the common voter in them,” he said.

The former Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, V.K. Gupta, pitched in with an offbeat idea of “right to recall the government” wherein if more than half of the Lok Sabha representatives were elected by a minority vote, a re-poll to “recall” the government should be made possible.

Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said: “People who can ensure a voter support of even 15 per cent get elected to Parliament in 90 per cent of the cases. Around 68 per cent of our present elected candidates in the country are not chosen by the majority.”

Later, replying to a question from participants, Justice Gupta said if the present elected representatives were not willing to pass the Bill for electoral reforms, there was only one option available — that a ‘fresh' Constituent Assembly be constituted (not a Commission) so that a second chapter in the history of Indian democracy could begin.

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