The Hindu reported on 23 Jan 2012: “Elections are the biggest source of corruption in the country,” stated Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S.Y. Quraishi.
We all agree with the CEC when he adds, “If 30 per cent of people vote and one of them wins with 12 per cent of that, both the quality of the representation and the legitimacy of governance will suffer.” Cheers! Well said! Encore!
I have an issue with the CEC’s blame, “People in urban areas incessantly complain about how corrupt their politicians are, but won’t queue up to vote and choose better ones.”
The voter lists in Karnataka seems to be as corrupt in its content as the politicians the CEC is blaming.
- The voter list is deplete with many duplicate entries, names of people who have moved out, dead people … CEC states, “low voter turnout had emerged as a fundamental threat to the country’s democracy.” With the current state of voter lists, higher polling percentage could mean that ghosts have voted. This could be a greater threat to democracy, Mr. CEC.
- “Election Commission had made significant progress in making the electoral process more transparent” is another statement by the CEC. There must have been progress when the CEC says so. But the reference documents, the voter lists, are only getting worse. Even the State Election Commissioner of Karnataka is unable to find an included name in voter list. The entries are so messed up. What use of the transparency?
- Deepak tells me that the CEC mandates all voter lists except for a few Assembly Constituencies in every state should be in local languages. Deepak is searching for the gazette notification on this subject. As a result, out of the 224 Assembly Constituencies of Karnataka, voter lists of only 17 are available in English. An interesting situation – Tamilnadu has 16 voter lists in English, which we can open. However, if you try to open a list in Tamil, we get the following prompt.
I cannot read Tamil even if I open a document. Why is the information in English more transparent than that in Tamil? What is the use of putting a voter list on CEO’s website which requires authentication to open? Who are authorised to view this document?
- Online queries do not return results because of the poor unprofessional style of its implementation. I shall write separately on this in a future blog.
‘Low voter turnout a threat to India’s democracy‘ is heading of the column in Hindu. The Election Commission is a party in promoting low turnout and blaming others who gain out of the chaos it has created.
Is a solution difficult? Not if the EC accepts that there is an issue and then has a desire to improve.