New Delhi: Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare on Thursday met Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi and pressed the poll panel to consider implementing the measures suggested by the civil society in the proposed electoral reform process.
Anna Hazare was accompanied by his close associates Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi.
Speaking to reporters later, Anna said, “Team Anna will continue its agitation for speedier electoral reforms. We have requested the poll panel chief to consider the civil society’s demands of incorporating ‘right to recall’ and ‘right to reject’ in the proposed electoral reform process.”
Anna also said that there was an urgent need to create awareness among people through the Election Commission and the media.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of Quraishi’s rejection of Team Anna’s two main demands of incorporating ‘right to recall’ and ‘right to reject’ in the proposed electoral reform process.
The poll panel chief was of the opinion that the `right to reject` or the `right to recall` non-performing MPs may not work in a large country like India.
Explaining reasons, why he is not in favour of ‘right to recall` or ‘right to reject` elected representatives, Quraishi had warned that any such electoral rule will “destabilise” the country.
The apex election body fears that inclusion of these proposals in voting could be misused to put out an unintended political message, especially in places such as Kashmir and North-Eastern states where people already feel alienated.
He had advocated introduction of 49-O button in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which would help voters to express their unhappiness over the candidates.
However, he had also cautioned that the introduction of 49-O (rule) button in EVMs could lead to more frequent elections.
49-O rule of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 describes the procedure to be followed when a valid voter decides not to cast his vote, and decides to record this fact.
The CEC also castigated the government for not bringing out other set of reforms, as suggested by the Election Commission.
Anna Hazare has earlier advocated that if all candidates spending crores in elections are rejected by the voters, it will discourage them from overspending and would control election expenditure.
The civil society’s meeting also holds significance as it comes a day after Anna Hazare held discussions with his close associates to decide on the future course of his anti-corruption agitation.