Govt mulling open ballot system for Council polls: Gowda

Mysuru, Jun 6: The Centre is mulling to bring in amendments for an "open ballot system" to elect members to the state Legislative Councils on the lines of a similar system for Rajya Sabha elections, Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda said today. "...there are Legislative Councils in six states, we are thinking about it.

I have already written to all the Chief  Ministers that like in Rajya Sabha elections, during the  elections to Legislative Council from Legislative Assembly, the voter has to show the ballot paper to the official agent of the party and cast the vote," he told reporters here.

Open ballot system for Council polls?

"This in a way will minimise influence of money in these elections. We have made up our mind to bring in amendments to this effect," he said.

Elections to the Council from the Assembly constituency now follows the secret ballot system where secrecy of voting is maintained while the Rajya Sabha polls have an open ballot system where voter has to show the ballot paper to the official agent of the party and cast the vote. In both the cases, votes will be considered invalid if  there is violation.

"I have already written to Chief Ministers of six states. States like Maharashtra have written back asking us to take steps in this regard as soon as possible. We will initiate the process in this regard," Gowda said.

Speaking on the "sting operation" that purportedly showed MLAs negotiating money deal in exchange for their votes for Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka, the Law Minister demanded that the Election Commission should consider this seriously.

"It is a humiliation to Karnataka state, as these  developments have made national headlines. I urge that the  Election Commission take this matter seriously," he said. Videos of the "sting operations" were aired by two private TV news channels on Thursday. 

The footage of "sting operation" by one channel showed a JD(S) MLA purportedly talking about money in crores of rupees for supporting a candidate.

A parallel "sting" operation by another channel showed Congress candidate K C Ramamurthy and independent MLAs  purportedly speaking about getting increased development funds for the constituency from the government in return for votes.

The Rajya Sabha polls to fill four vacancies is scheduled for June 11 while elections to fill 7 seats of Karnataka Legislative Council will be held on June 10.


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