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The Mother India

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

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From: "LokSatta" <fonderef@hd1.vsnl.net.in>
To: "Tirumala Srinivas" <corruptioneradication@yahoo.com>
Subject: National Campaign for Electoral Reforms - Press Note
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 10:38:14 +0530


Press Note
July 10th, 2002 
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS
 
Several non-partisan people’s movements, activists, jurists, scholars, and concerned citizens met in New Delhi on 9th July to review the recent developments relating to the people’s sovereign right to know about the candidates who seek to represent them. These organizations and individuals represent various shades of public opinion, and have a long and distinguished track record of active citizenship and vigorous efforts to enrich our democracy and enhance popular respect for the democratic process. 
 
The meeting deliberated in great detail on the current issue of candidate disclosures, as well as the larger electoral reforms. The following conclusions were drawn;
 
1.                  A broad coalition of people’s movements, organisation, activist, experts and concerned citizens has been formed to launch a National Campaign for Electoral Reforms.
2.                  This Campaign will focus for the time being on the voter’s sovereign right to be informed about the candidates. The Campaign objectives are to promote public awareness and achieve comprehensive electoral reforms to ensure free and fair polls, eliminate voting irregularities, prevent criminalisation of politics, ensure transparency and accountable finding and utilisation for political purpose, internal democracy in political parties and measures to enhance legitimacy of representation and popular participation in political process.
3.                  Campaign committees will be constituted all over the country, with local committees representing every constituency. The National Campaign appeals to all citizens’ initiatives and civil society organisations to join this effort. We call upon concerned citizens to volunteer to expand the movement all over the country.
4.                  An open letter is addressed to political parties on the immediate issue of disclosure of candidates’ details at the time of nomination, based on Supreme Court's Judgement and Election Commission’s order. The letter is enclosed.  
5.                  A note has been prepared for wide dissemination and public education and for circulation among political parties and legislators to put disclosure issue in perspective. The note is enclosed.
6.                  The National Campaign believes that the primacy of political process and supremacy of Parliament in matters of legislation must be universally respected and strengthened. What India needs is more politics, not less, and more democracy, not less.
7.                  The current issue is not about a clash between the respective roles of the judiciary and legislature. It is about us, the people. It is about the citizens’ fundamental right to know about their candidates and their governance. The Supreme Court's judgement of May 2 in an affirmation of the natural rights of voters which flow from the concept of democracy and cannot be construed as usurpation of the legislature’s role. Disclosure is not disqualification.
8.                  It has been decided to meet the leadership of the major political parties, explain the disclosure issue in perspective from citizens’ point of view, and seek their support for enrichment of our democratic process. Shri. Kuldip Nayar, Admiral Tahliani, Justice Rajendra Sachar, Sri. S D. Sharma, and Gen. Vinod Saigal will meet political parities during the course of the next few days for this purpose.
9.                  Public education through the involvement of mass media is critical for the National Campaign. Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao, Sri. S.V. Sista, Ms Tara Sinha, and Ms. Maja Daruwala, will coordinate the media Campaign.
10.               The National Campaign will involve people’s initiatives and concerned citizens across the country. Sri. L.C. Jain, Sri. Jagadananda, Sri. S.D. Sharma, Sri. AK. Venkatasubramaniam, and AVARD will coordinate these efforts.
11.        An effective campaign for electoral reforms needs constant legal support and advice. Justice Rajendra Sachar, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Sri Sanjay Parikh and Ms. Pinky Anand will provide legal support to the Campaign.
 

 
The National Campaign will be coordinated from two centers:
 
CENTRE FOR MEDIA STUDIES
RESEARCH HOUSE
Community Centre, Saket,
New Delhi – 110017
Ph: 011- 6867348, 6864020, 6851660  Fax: 011-6968282
 
LOK SATTA
407, Nirmal Towers
Panjagutta
Hyderabad – 500082
Ph: 040-3350778, 3350790, 3352487 Fax: 040-3350783
 
The National Campaign appeals to all citizens to join hands to cleanse our polity of criminal and corrupt elements and strengthen the hands of the many committed and concerned representatives in all political parties.  Purity of elections and legitimacy of representation are the cardinal foundations of any democracy. The people, who are the ultimate sovereigns, must join this struggle for better democracy. We express deep appreciation to the mass media whose steadfast struggle to uphold the values of liberty and democracy has enriched our public debate and helped improve our political process.
 
The National Campaign looks up to political parties, public representatives and the mass media for leadership and direction to defend liberty, strengthen democracy and respect people’s sovereignty. We most earnestly urge all concerned citizens to join this campaign to fortify electoral reforms which shield our legislatures from persons of dubious background, strengthen our democracy and enhance popular respect for the political process.
 
In Delhi, Contact: Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao/Mr. Naveen Surapaneni
Ph: 6867348, 6864020,6851660/6522244/55
 
In Hyderabad, Contact : Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan
Tel: 3350778, 3350790; Fax: 3350783 

Annexure

The organizations represented are based in various parts of the country, ranging from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, and West Bengal. Scores of other organizations across the country expressed their solidarity and endorsed the efforts of the group. These organizations include:  

Association for Democratic Reforms

Ahmedabad

AGNI

Mumbai

Partners in Change

Mumbai

Common Cause

Delhi

MKSS

Rajasthan

CERC

Ahmedabad

AVARD

Delhi

Lok Sevak Sangh

PUCL

Transparency International

CHRI

Citizen Alliance for promotion of responsive governance

Centre for Civil Society

Women’s Political Watch

Parivartan

Centre for Media Studies

Public Affairs Centre

Bangalore

Janaagraha

Mysore Graahaka Parishad

Karnataka

Catalyst Trust

Tamil Nadu

Citizen’s Action Network

CYSD

Orissa

Concerned Citizens for Calcutta

West Bengal

Foundation for Democratic Reforms

Andhra Pradesh

Cooperative Development Foundation

Lok Satta Movement

 The individuals who participated and endorsed include the following :

Shri Kuldip Nayar, MP

Shri L.C. Jain

Shri Justice Rajendra Sachar

Shri B.G. Deshmukh

Shri A.K. Venkatasubramaniam

Shri Trilochan   Sastry

Shri Ajit Ranaade

Dr. N. Bhaskara Rao

Shri S.D. Sharma

Admiral Tahliani

Dr. Manmohan Malhoutra

Professor Partha Shah

Shri Sanjay Parikh

Ms. Pinki Anand

Ms. Neena Vyas

Shri S.V. Sista

Ms. Tara Sinha

Ms. Maja Daruwala

Shri Jagadaananda

Gen. Vinod Saigal

Prof. Samuel Paul

Shri Arvind Kumar

Shri Promod Chawla

Shri A.N. Kaul

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan

Shri Pram Chopra

Shri Shankar Ghosh

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