Politicos and anti-graft crusaders pitch for mandatory voting

Mainstream politicos Rashid Alvi and Muralidhar Rao and anti-graft crusaders Anna Hazare and N Santosh Hegde have in a consensus voice pitched strongly for making voting mandatory in the country.

Mainstream politicos Rashid Alvi and Muralidhar Rao and anti-graft crusaders Anna Hazare and N Santosh Hegde have in a consensus voice pitched strongly for making voting mandatory in the country. Sharing their concerns over the deep-rooted corruption prevailing in the country while participating in the #bbv Bharat Bhagya Vidhata `India Ka Agenda` show, to be aired tomorrow @ Zee News at 10 pm, they stressed upon the need to induct candidates with clean image into the electoral fray.

Zee Research Group/ Delhi

Rashid Alvi, senior Congress leader admitted that corruption had lowered the level of trust among people. He praised his party leader Rahul Gandhi’s statement to scrap the controversial ordinance that aimed to protect convicted parliamentarians.

“Rahul Gandhi has shown the right path,” claimed Alvi. He found support from Gandhian activist Anna Hazare who too welcomed the move to withdraw the controversial ordinance.

The rising sentiment against politicians facing corruption charges came upfront during the how. BJP general secretary Murlidhar Rao said, “BJP has always encouraged independent politics in the country. We have focused on the good political system and tried to maintain governance in the nation. I urge every party to select right candidates. Furthermore, I will assure you that BJP party will never include convicted leaders in the party.”

Recently, in a landmark judgement, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad was sentenced to five years imprisonment in a 17-year-old fodder scam case by a special CBI court. The sentence also disqualified Prasad from Parliament.

Commenting on the judgement, Nitte Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court justice and Karnataka Lokayukta said, “Lalu Prasad Yadav`s sentencing is a starting point. This will set a trend to improve political administration. Further, this decision will definitely send a strong message to all political parties that they must include only clean image candidates in their respective parties.”

Referring to the impact of judgement on the Congress party, Alvi said, “Lalu was with us till he was accused. Now, being convicted he is not with us.”

Can a country survive economically amid the rising corruption?

“Corruption has increased leaps and bounds since independence. It’s clear from the statistics that during the 1950s the scam amount used to be in lakhs. While in 1960s, the total scam amount was reported in crores; in 1970s the scam amount was reported in some thousand crores. Furthermore, from 2010 onwards, the amount of one scam scaled to lakh crore. And because of this our economy had suffered a lot from these ongoing corruption activities,” stressed Hegde.

In an attempt to bring good leaders in the political system, the Supreme Court has directed the Election Commission to provide a button on voting machines to allow voters to reject all candidates contesting an election in a constituency.

Talking about the same development, “It is a good thing. However, right to reject won’t be effective as 40 per cent people never vote. Only if voting is made compulsory to all voters, then the right to reject would be effective."

Likewise, BJP’s Rao said, “Right to reject will make logical sense only if voting is made compulsory.” Reiterating the view, Hegde said, “Voting should be made mandatory and those who don’t go to the polling booth should be punished. Along with monetary penalty, social benefits can also be withdrawn.”

However, Hazare praised the Supreme Court judgement and averred, “Now, voters have the right to reject all candidates contesting polls in a constituency by pressing a button for negative vote. Further, this provides a voter the freedom to exercise free choice.”

Offering solution to curb the rising corruption problem, Hedge opined, “We require the help of society, lawmakers to change the attitude of youth. Boycott people who are perceived to be corrupt. One should control his greed and moral science should be given importance.”

Similarly, Alvi suggested, “The need of the hour is to bring in bureaucratic, police, and judicial reforms.”

(BBV ‘India Ka Agenda’ show airs on Saturday @ 10pm)