Skip to main content

Electoral reforms: Introduce proportional representation for 70% of Lok Sabha seats, demand activists

By Our Representative
The Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI), a network of NGOs working on electoral reforms and related issues, has put forward the demand which has been in air for quite for decades now. It wants proportionate electoral system (PES) to be implemented as the main cornerstone of electoral reforms in India. In Delhi, the event was organised at Mandi House, where activists formed a human chain. A CERI statement claimed, it had been “campaigning with this demand for the last seven years”, adding, “A similar human chain putting forward the demand was also formed in six other cities of India.”
The statement said, “Mandi House in Delhi circle saw jubilant and festive mood, when people holding hands with colourful banners and placards formed human chain. Political parties, students group, trade unions, and people from the marginalized communities living in slums, resettlement colonies, waste pickers and homeless gathered to demand their space in democracy.” The placards had slogans such as “PES ensures power in the hands of excluded people”, “PES is ideal for multi-party democracy”, and “Political participation of women is must for Nation Building”.
The term proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which each party's share of the seats in an elected assembly approximates its share of the vote. If 30% of the electorate support a particular political party then roughly 30% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result, not just a plurality or majority of them. It requires the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible using single-member districts alone, according to experts.
Talking with newspersons, Dharmendra Kumar from Lok Adhikar said that India needed change in the electoral system, and the present system is not fit for multi-party democracy. Leena Dabiru, national coordinator, CERI added that denial of representation has already resulted in amassing resources of the country. 
“The marginalised and vulnerable sections of society are suffering due to non-representation. Only 10 per cent of the powerful communities have ruled India since independence. More than 89 democratic countries in the world have already adopted PES. Countries in western Europe with 20% and above women's representation in the parliament have adopted PES.”
The statement, however, believed that CERI did not want to completely do away with the present electoral method, which is called first-past-the-post (FPTP), under which the candidate receiving more votes than any other(s) wins. It said, there should be a mix of FPTP (30% of candidates) with PES (70% of candidates). It is not known why CERI wished such a mix. It further said that each voter should have two votes, one for the candidate and one for the party, and each party should prepare a list of candidates in the order of priority.
Campaigning for electoral reforms since October 2008, CERI said, those who participated included Praveen Pradhan, National, vice president of the Janata Dal (United) and Supreme Court advocate Ashwani Bakshi, apart from sveeral women from activist group representatives. Similar demonstrations were held at Imphal, Manipur; Bhubneshwar, Odisha; Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; Raipur, Chhattisgarh; Ranchi, Jharkhand; and Bangalore, Karantaka.

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…