Consultative meet by citizens’ group resolves to uphold democracy

Updated - May 22, 2024 12:25 am IST

Published - May 22, 2024 12:24 am IST - Bengaluru

Participants of a consultative meeting, organised by civil society groups on Monday, expressed concern about the alleged failure of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections, the ongoing violations of the model code of conduct, the excessive reliance on EVMs, and the possibilities of defying the people’s mandate.

Several civil society organisations from South India, representatives of political parties, retired administrators, and members of social movements deliberated on the urgent need to prepare for the response by the ruling establishment to the results of the 18th Lok Sabha elections. 

Speakers including Parkala Prabhakara, Teesta Setalwad, Nadeem Khan, M.G. Devasahayam, Major General Vombatkere, Ravi Joshi, and Ganesh Devy called for “recognising this as an emergency in which un-Constitutional forces posed threats to realising democracy.” They reiterated that people must assert their rights and safe-guard their electoral mandate. 

Highlighting that this election was between the people of India versus un-democratic forces, the discussions focused on various initiatives and strategies that the opposition parties, civil society members, and all concerned citizens must engage with to ensure that the election results were not met with resistance, violence, and denial of the transfer of power.

Drawing on all the varied discussions and suggestions, Noor Sridhar, of Wake-Up Karnataka, provided a summary of the five key responsibilities that could form the bases for citizens to recognise the gravity of the issues and to ensure that their political will could prevail. These responsibilities included constituting Citizens Vigilance Committees to oversee the counting processes, petitioning the Supreme Court to postpone the court’s vacations that were scheduled for immediately after the results, placing pressure on the Election Commission to abide by the code of conduct, and petitioning the President of India to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

“A letter would be written and addressed to all public administrators to abide by the Constitutional principles and to uphold the rule of law under all circumstances. All civil society organisations and concerned citizens are to assert their rights and prepare for peaceful and powerful satyagraha across the nation,” said a statement.

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