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Saturday 12 February 2011

National Election Watch - Election bound states - discussion

Post Lunch session was devoted for debating the problems in election bound states.  The Session was chaired by Mr N Praveen Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu.  Dr Sudarsan, Convenor of Tamilnadu Election Watch introduced the theme.

Please read our ealier posts

Mr. Maity, Panelist from West Bengal
Stresses on some of the pressing issues in the West Bengal election scene enhancing the involvement of civil society especially the youth. Information dissemination is the key area that is being stressed by the authorities.

Mr. Victor, Panelist from Puducherry
Created a peple's manifesto. How the people visualise Puducherry in the next 2-3 years. Suggestions from the people: Politicians should educate their children in government schools and get treatment only in Government Hospitals. 

Mr. Satish Babu, Panelist from Kerala
Elections to be held in April-May 2011. Party based calculations doesn't make any sense in Kerala due to the coalition politics existing in the state. Some of the main issues plaguing the Kerala elections are that pages are missing from the affidivts filed by candidates, candidates with similar names contesting in the same consitutency to mislead voters, assets of few candidates listed in multiple international currencies. There is a centralised software to feed information regarding the Kerala electoral scene. Last compilation was made during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Anil Bairwal, Paneslist from Bihar
Nitish Kumar's assurance that MLAs with criminal charges would not be made ministers fell flat and the Civil society protested.The multiple phases in the recent Bihar elections made it easy for the civil society to concentrate on each region quite efficiently.The political parties, ideologically opposed to giving tickets to criminals in elections, continued to do the same even after sustained protest from the people.

N Gopalaswamy comes in with a suggestion to list out the constituencies and the polling booths within the constituencies having the least polling percentages and further suggesting the NGOs to work on Voter Awareness in those areas. 

A Member of the audience suggests that the candidates submit their biodata four months prior to the election so that the people get enough time to select the best possible candidate. 

Chair - Dr. Ajit Ranade

Mr. Bamang Tago, Arunachal Pradesh
Disseminating information regarding the candidates'affidivits to the voting public.

Mr. Uma Prakash Ojha, Chattisgarh
Red corridor. Maoist insurgency making it dangerous for the electoral officers to perform their duties.  Special care needed. 

Mr. Sudhir Pal, Jharkhand
Pre-election voter awareness campaign conducted. Setting up of 100 panchayats as model-panchayats. Strengthening Gramsabhas.Training modules in partnership with GoI and UNDP.

Mr. Sridhar, Karnataka
Not peaceful times politically in the state. Multiple issues of obtaining and processing the affidivits. Reached out to grass root level organisations. Effective information dissemination. Triple checking of facts before putting in the public domain.

Mr. Rakesh Rajan, Madhya Pradesh
Man Andolan. People do not trust the representatives that they themselves had elected.  

Mr. Laikynmaw Buam, Meghalaya 
Local cheifs and village heads more powerful than the bureaucrats. Election watch tries to involve them in the aim of ensuring free and fair elections. Youth being mobilised despite a few of their dissatisfaction with all the candidates standing for the elections. No criminal records on any of the candidates who stood for elections though investigations suggest that at the grass roots level there is a link between the candidates and militant groups, to rig the election process. Politicians control the media.  

Mr. Ranjan Mohanty, Orissa 
Media, senior retired bureaucrats part of the Election Watch. District level work being carried out by the Election watch. People with more than 2 children cannot contest in Panchayat Eleciton. ECI should appoint Independent auditors to audit political parties. There is a lack of inner party democracy in the Political parties in the state. 

Mr. Biswendu Bhattacharjee, Tripura
Highest voter turnout in the country ranging between 87% to 93%. Highly cadre based state. The state politics is dominated by a single party. Civil society and NGOs largely under the control of politicians. 

End of Session.
Next session - Media Session chaired by Srinivasa Jain (NDTV)



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