The Telegraph
Friday , April 4 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Civil society outfit bats for electoral reforms
- Bharatiya Suraaj Manch to release White Paper on its proposals after LS battle

A civil society group on Thursday vowed to come up with a White Paper, demanding electoral reforms in the country, after completion of the Lok Sabha elections.

Bharatiya Suraaj Manch, a crusader for good governance, said the White Paper, which would be eventually submitted to the Centre, would seek proper rules for functioning of political parties.

“There are rules that guide the functioning of trusts, companies, partnership firms and companies. So, why not political parties?” asked national convener of Bharatiya Suraaj Manch P.K. Siddharth while addressing a news conference.

“The rules should make it mandatory for all political parties to declare their candidates for each constituency at least six months before the tentative poll schedule. Poll manifestos will also have to be released at least three months in advance so that voters get enough time to know what the candidates and their respective parties stand for,” he added.

Another demand is a complete ban on corporate donations to political parties to prevent blatant use of black money.

“We will want that the voters be given the right to recall their elected MP or MLA after two years from the date of the polls. They should also have the option of exercising their franchise through email,” Siddharth said.

The Manch’s stand was prompted by the absence of any political decorum among the parties.

“It is unfortunate that a major political party like the BJP is yet to come up with its poll manifesto though polls are now less than a week away. The Congress released its poll manifesto only on March 26 followed by other major political parties. It will be expecting too much from a voter to get copies of the manifestos, read and understand them and make up his mind whom to vote for in such a span,” Siddharth said.

Again, most major political parties declare their candidates just days before the process of filing nominations begins.

Later, speaking to The Telegraph, the convener pointed out that since 1992, the Election Commission had been suggesting various electoral reforms to the Union government though with little success. “However, none of our suggestions has ever found a place on the EC list. We shall invite public debates on our proposals and even draft a proposed bill to regulate functioning of political parties that will be sent to the Centre,” Siddharth said.