The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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All-party nod to RS open ballot

New Delhi, Oct. 29: An all-party meeting convened by law minister Arun Jaitley today reached a consensus on the modalities of implementing the open ballot system for the Rajya Sabha elections.

The meeting, attended by Rajya Sabha representatives of the Congress, the BJP and the Left, decided that the returning officer will mark the ballot against the name of the voter so that the exact pattern of voting can be ascertained and recorded. It was decided the voter will show their vote to the party’s election agent before it is cast.

The CPM and the CPI had opposed the bill enabling the implementation of the open voting system, which was eventually passed in the last monsoon session with the BJP’s and Congress’ support. However, the Left parties today agreed that it was “fair enough”.

If a party wants to see how a particular person has voted, it will have to file an application. But it was agreed no party will be privy to how votes are cast by supporters of other parties.

This measure is seen as a means to curb the influence of “money power” and prevent cross-voting by defying the party’s whip.

The Left had argued that the move would hit at the basis of parliamentary democracy based on “fearless voting” through secret ballot.

The meeting was, however, inconclusive on other items on its agenda, which included introducing a uniform system of dismissal for all Election Commission members. It also did not decide whether the expenditure incurred by the commission should be charged to the consolidated fund and whether security deposits should be raised.

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