Puducherry: Chief Election Commissioner
Navin Chawla on Wednesday said violations of the model code of
conduct have come down and the evolution of such code was a
sign of "maturity" among the political parties.
"We sometimes tend to decry our politicians. But I want
to say model code of conduct is the evolution of the maturity
of our political parties themselves. The model code framed by
them has been upheld by Supreme Court and High Courts time and
time again. The fact is it has emanated from them. Violations
have been few and far between now," he said.
The CEC was addressing staff and students of Pondicherry
University on `Electoral Democracy in India,` organised by the
University to mark its silver jubilee lecture series.
Chawla said the 2009 Lok Sabha poll was "indisputably the
largest management exercise in the world," one of the chief
highlights of which was vastly improved technology. Sixty five
per cent of landmass was connected by mobile. Mobile phones
and police wireless network and satellite phones had enabled
the Commission achieve greater transparency, he said.
The CEC, who also released a journal brought out by the
Centre for Electronic Media and Mass Communication of the
University, said a very important part of a good election is
that there should be a precise and good electoral roll.
Of the 714 million voters spread over India, 580 million,
constituting 80 per cent of voters were equipped with photo
identity cards in the 2009 general elections. The remaining 20
per cent would soon be issued the cards, he said.
Chawla said the Union Territory of Puducherry was the
first in India to have covered all voters under the photo
identity cards scheme and cent per cent in electoral rolls.
Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Rajasthan were next with 99 per cent in
coverage, followed by Bengal, with 95 per cent coverage.
He urged students of colleges and universities to
volunteer as assistants to booth level officers in preparing
still more perfect electoral rolls after full verification of
eligible voters with correct particulars.
Chawla suggested that marginalised sections and also
those in the villages be covered under the EPIC facility.
The CEC said people hit by tsunami and rendered homeless
without documents for identification purposes should also be
approached and be equipped with the cards. "The urban poor and
landless villagers should also get the cards," he said.
He said ramps for disabled voters also mattered much to
the Commission. He said a social audit on ramps in certain
booths during the Mumbai Assembly polls by a NGO had given the
Commission a lot of suggestions. "We learnt a lot from the
organisation. We want to replicate it all over the country,"