HYDERABAD: Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami has favoured prohibiting civil servants from joining political parties for at least five years after resignation or retirement from service.
“This suggestion could be implemented from the top -- the CEC and the Election Commissioners,” he said, while delivering the 23rd Sardar Vallabhai Patel memorial lecture on ‘Election Management-New Paradigm’ at the SVP National Police Academy here on Monday.
Fixed term favoured
Mr. Gopalaswami also advocated a fixed term for legislature saying “we are tired of conducting election after election”. The other reforms he suggested was to prescribe a minimum of 50 per cent plus one vote for the winning candidate, ceiling on party expenditure and single mandatory ID card.
Referring to EC’s proposal made in 1998 to bar persons facing charges of committing heinous crimes from contesting elections, he regretted that this had not passed muster with parliamentarians. There were 18.18 per cent MPs with criminal cases in Lok Sabha, 49 per cent MLAs in Bihar, 38.30 per cent MLAs (Uttar Pradesh), 32.91 per cent (Tamil Nadu), 30.86 per cent (Jharkhand) and 15.31 per cent MLAs( West Bengal), among other States.
Giving an overview of the functioning of the Election Commission and the essentials for a credible election, he said while we could be proud, among others, of universal adult franchise and effecting political change through ballots and not bullets, “there are many things of which we cannot be proud of -- money, muscle power, manipulation, stuffing electoral rolls, bogus voting, booth capturing, pre-poll and poll day violence, intimidation…”
"We cannot be proud of abusing authority, using Government servants, especially the police, criminals in fray, exceeding expenditure limit mostly observed in breach, bribing with freebies, liquor. So you start wondering at some point of time whether it is democracy or demo(no)cracy?”