Andhra Pradesh

Need to introduce proportional representation: former bureaucrat

Parties with 38% of votes after 2014 elections are in power, he says

While larger issues on electoral reforms are being taken up at various levels, citizen reform should play a key role at local level with more participation by people in general and youth in particular, former Union Energy Secretary E.A.S. Sarma has said.

Addressing a discussion on ‘Electoral Reforms,’ organised by the Centre for Policy Studies and Visakhapatnam Public Library on Saturday, he said 50 % quota for women, check on expenditure in the light of studies that indicated spending of ₹10,000 crore in the recent Karnataka elections and giving tickets to criminals, particularly those against whom charges of atrocities against women were pending, were some of the issues on which reforms were needed.

Besides with the first-past-the-post electoral system, parties with 38% of votes (after 2014 elections) were in power and hence proportional representation should be introduced, Mr. Sarma said. At the national-level an exercise to give an agenda to political parties was being worked out by 20 individuals, including retired chief justice of Delhi High Court Shah, Mr. Sarma said adding he was also involved in it.

‘Avoid hero worship’

He underlined the importance of dialogue with people, dissent and discussion in democracy avoiding hero worship.

People’s manifesto

Elections were not held to GVMC for six years now and people were helpless about it, he said. Some emotional issues were whipped up to mislead people but vexatious local problems like pollution, lack of cleanliness in slums and provision for sufficient water remained unaddressed, he said stressing the importance of people’s manifesto and how people of Ambedkarangar pursued in the 2014 elections. Mr. Sarma wanted the youth to take an active role in the civic elections with such an agenda.

Political parties must be brought under the RTI Act, he demanded. The amendment to relevant Act to tide over the court judgement on accepting donations from foreign companies was challenged by him in the Supreme Court, he said.

Answering a question on EVMs being tamper-proof, he said developed countries like Germany and England were not using them and no technology was 100 % safe as was being maintained by the Election Commission.

President of CPS A. Prasanna Kumar said the India with ‘flawed democracy’ did not figure in the first 50 countries as the rating was based on human rights, health, education, employment opportunities and health. The first-past-the-past system resulted in governments and parliament not being representative. They were governments with plurality of votes but not majority, he said.

For electoral reforms, first Election Commission should be made a constitutional body that could not be appointed and dismissed by executive, elections should be funded by the government, spending of MPLAD funds should be checked and defections should be dealt with by debarring from participation in elections.

VPL Society Secretary D.S. Varma welcomed.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 4:35:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/need-to-introduce-proportional-representation-former-bureaucrat/article24957907.ece

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