Dr Joshi suggests national debate on election reforms

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Sep 2017 09:17:02


Staff Reporter,

Senior BJP leader also suggests to reconsider size of constituency to curtail expense, explore functional representation to all stakeholders

Former National President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has suggested a national level debate over the proposed election reforms in the country. While formulating electoral reforms, the Government should consider the philosophy of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay over election reforms during his birth centenary, he added.

Welcoming election reforms proposed by the Central Government, Dr. Joshi in an exclusive interview to ‘The Hitavada’ said, the Government should take a strong view over curbing election expenses, reorganisation of constituencies, further steps to improve credibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and holding parliamentary and assembly elections simultaneously.

Presently, a Member of Parliament is elected by 20 to 25 lakh voters of the parliamentary constituency, Dr Joshi said, and added that earlier, the Member of Parliament used to be elected by 5 lakh voters. There is a huge difference between five lakh voters and 25 lakh voters, therefore, there should be no comparison of Indian MP or MLA with the public representatives of England. The Members of Parliament or Members of Legislative Assembly are unable to fulfill the expectations of the people as it is practically not possible for them to reach out to each constituent spread over such a huge area.

This massive spurt in number of voters has also increased expenditure on election and people’s representatives have to shell out lot of money just to maintain their office and resolve people’s grievances, he said.

Former Union Minister further said, the election reforms should also cover the election of the member of parliament on the basis of geographical territory or functional territory like election of parliamentarian from doctors, advocates, labourers, farmers and other categories, who are the real stakeholders in the democracy.

Dr. Joshi said, the government should also explain on allowances and reimbursement to member of parliament as it is very less as compare to GDP, and corresponding responsibility on them. A committee of non-parliamentarian should form to decide the salary and allowances of the member of parliaments, he suggested.

Stressing the need to bring more transparency in funding of political parties, the senior political thinker asserted that people have every right to know, the expenses and funding of the political parties. He said, “The money power should not dominate political power, otherwise, it will be harmful for the healthy democracy of the country.”

Hinting towards certain unhealthy practices adopted by media, particularly during election period, Dr Joshi said, the media should be independent, impartial during election as it plays an important role in the democracy. Dr Joshi said, “It is necessary to follow the principals and ideology of Pt Deendayal Upadhyay over transparency in election, selection of candidates during his birth centenary.” He said, the government should also conduct debate on pros and cons of presidential system as Constituent Assembly had rejected the idea of presidential system while preferring Westminster Model.

Dr Joshi said, “It is unfortunate that the Election Commission does not have its own staff in the country. They have to remain dependent on Central and State Government machinery. They do not have skeleton staff also. The government should provide them independent staff working under them, he added.