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The Mother India

  A Home page to achieve Electoral reforms, true democracy & citizens sovereignty in India


From: "Lok Satta" <>
To: "Tirumala Srinivas" <>
Subject: update-29th July
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 13:11:53 +0530

Dear Friends,

        This is a very brief note to update you on the latest developments. A more detailed note will follow later this week:

        The meeting in Delhi took stock of the situation. There was broad consensus that the effort will continue; ultimately we should work for larger electoral reform agenda; a core team should be formed; and we should bring grassroots initiatives together and build a truly viable national platform.
There is some very good news from states. The SECs in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have issued orders on the lines of Supreme Court judgment in respect of local government elections. Uttaranchal did one better; they issued an ordinance broadly in line with the Supreme Court judgment.

        Our team met several major party leaders.
The good news is that Congress party seems to be opposing the draft Bill -partly for the wrong reasons! They are opposed to disqualification criteria being expanded. Nevertheless they are now publicly supporting the disclosure norms as enunicated by the Supreme Court. They are only concerned about the discretion in returning officers' hands. We did our best to allay their apprehensions. And in any case, that small problem can be addressed by amendment of Rule 4 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

CPM also seems to favour disclosures, and says it is opposed to the current draft Bill.
From the current stand of major opposition parties, it is likely that the Bill will not progress much further. It may go to a Parliamentary committee, or it may be a non-starter. Either way, there is a good chance that our immediate objective of a more detailed public debate on the Bill will be fulfilled.

        The sad demise of the Vice President seems to have postponed the all-party meeting due on Saturday. We will know of further developments during the next 2 days.

        The major parties are making one legitimate point: disclosures, however desirable, constitute only a small step forward. The real issue is comprehensive electoral reform. National Campaign couldn't agree more. We should therefore focus on curbing polling irregularities, improving voter registration, and accountable and legitimate use of money in elections.

        Friends in Delhi need to be in close touch with parties, in particular Congress and CPM. Public opinion strongly expressed over the past month, media pressure and interaction with National Campaign have certainly helped shape parties' attitudes. There should be no let up until this draft Bill is dropped and a genuine electoral reform initiative is launched.

with warm regards

Jayaprakash Narayan
National Coordinator

Lok Satta
401/408, Nirmal Towers
Dwarakapuri Colony, Punjagutta
Hyderabad - 500 082
Fax: 91-040-3350783


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