Come elections, we see the same old story - booth capturing, poll violence, vote buying, muscle power, communal polarization, vote bank politics.
Post elections, power may change hands, but the system remains scarily indifferent. Corruption, red tape, government apathy, criminalization of politics and a lack of governance and accountability exclude the possibility of real change.
It's time we stopped being silent spectators.
It's time we ensured that candidates with criminal records do not get elected.
It's time we made our vote count.
A National Campaign for Political Reform is a step in that direction. Its aim is to make people aware of the solutions to our political and governance crisis. A starting point could be reforms in our electoral process through the introduction of Proportional Representation, direct elections for the Head of Goverment at the State level and regulating the arbitrary functioning of political parties. These measures will enable honest and qualified candidates to get elected. And the election results would accurately represent voters' wishes.
The benefits are manifold. All that is needed is your interest and participation.
What is VOTEINDIA?
VOTEINDIA is a non-partisan movement that seeks to make citizens aware of the urgent need for reforms in our current political system. As it stands, our political system suffers from a crisis in governance. We desperately need to address this crisis. A beginning can be made by reforming our electoral process, because that is the only real opportunity that citizens get to exercise their mandate.
What do we do?
- We provide the platform and tools necessary for effective citizen participation.
- We mobilise public support through various activities and campaigns aimed at specific reforms, greater accountability and better democracy.
- We work with other citizens' initiatives and movements across the country to work for reform goals nationally.
The origins of VOTEINDIA
While there is broad consensus that the present political system is ridden with defects, there has been very little national debate on how systemic changes can be implemented. Seeing this as a crucial need of the hour, VOTEINDIA was conceived to provide a platform from which political debate could be initiated. The objective was not to merely present a comprehensive package for change, but to enable discussion and action. The campaign was given its shape through meetings with opinion makers, concerned citizens and activists in several metropolitan cities.
A key architect of the campaign is Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, founder of the LOK SATTA movement in Andhra Pradesh, which has championed issues of governance reform in the state since its inception in 1997. He is also a member of the National Advisory Council and advises the government on issues of electoral reform.
The Aims of VOTEINDIA
VOTEINDIA seeks to achieve the following:
Changes to the electoral system
Currently, the electoral system employs a constituency-based First-Past-The-Post system. This system is flawed in many ways, such as by rewarding illegitimate electoral tactics, discouraging honest candidates and suppressing representation of minorities. Adopting a Mixed Compensatory System of Proportional Representation would be an ideal compromise, addressing the problems - whilst retaining the worthy elements - of the current FPTP system.
Direct Elections of the political executive at the State level
The current system of electing the political executive at the State level undermines the proper role of the political executive. A better system would be a direct election system, under which the Chief Minister would be directly elected by the people. A direct election system would have many advantages, particularly by ensuring that the political executive will not be under constant pressure from MLAs for survival. Just as importantly, the political executive will be accountable to the people and subject to in-built checks preventing abuse of office.
Internal democracy for political parties
Many political parties currently operate in an undemocratic fashion, institutionalizing problems and reducing the quality of candidates. By requiring all political parties to establish internal democracy political parties will operate in a fairer, more transparent and improved fashion.