EC not in favour of Team Anna's electoral reform proposals

Shanti Bhushan
New Delhi, Nov 1: The Election Commission has virtually disfavoured Team Anna's electoral reform proposals saying its demand for 'Right to Recall' will bring instability while 'Right to Reject' will lead to more frequent elections.

This was conveyed to Team Anna members led by Shanti Bhushan on Monday when they met Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and other members V.S. Sampath and H.S. Brahma to discuss electoral reforms.

Hazare had announced in August when he called off his fast for a strong Lokpal that his next fight will be for implementing 'Right to Recall' and 'Right to Reject'.

During the discussions, an official statement said, Quraishi told the delegation that Right to Recall elected representatives would 'bring instability' as the losers could start such a campaign from day one.

On Right to Reject, the Commission was of the view that an amendment was needed in the Representation of the People Act 1951, a view countered by Team Anna which claims that it can be done through an administrative order.

The statement comes in the wake of claims reportedly made by activist Arvind Kejriwal that the Commission had accepted their demand for making changes in rules to provide for 'Right to Reject' option during elections.

Quraishi told Team Anna that when implemented, 'Right to Recall would also hamper development activities because of 'frequent elections' and imposition of Model Code of Conduct too often.

He said there were various implications involved like the minimum percentage of voters who may file the petition for recall, verification of authenticity of thousands of signatures and whether those signatures have been given voluntarily or under coercion.

Team Anna agreed that the matter needed to be further examined by them keeping all the above implications in mind.

On the demand for 'Right to Reject', the statement said the Commission informed the delegation that it had already proposed to the Government in December 2001 to make a suitable provision in the rules to introduce a button in the balloting unit of the Electronic Voting Machine so that electors could exercise 'none of the above' option.


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