RIGHT TO REJECT
In my view – of all Electoral reforms needed in India immediately – the right to reject all contesting candidates is the most urgent and crucial – to cleanse the political arena of all unwanted candidates.
Why is it so urgent?
Some times – we find that we are voting for the lesser of the evils so that the greater evil does not come to Power.
Suppose X and Y are the only two contesting candidates, and we feel that both of them are really not fit to govern us – we must be able to vote both of them out. Instead, in the present dispensation, we may vote for X whom we may consider as being a lesser evil to the society than Y.
The Party of X , however, starts assuming the vote really as a Positive vote for them and for their bad Policies too - when actually they were voted for – as lesser of the two evils.
Political Parties are fielding persons of unacceptable backgrounds for assemblies / Parliament /Panchayat / etc at times and we all know that
Right to Vote in such cases is not an Effective Instrument for good governance, but a risky tool for self destruction.
The Right to Vote is actually a combination of several component rights.
Right to Vote implies (1) Right to Information about the candidates contesting and (2) Right to reject all undeserving candidates.
Right to Information obviously means that I know adequately about the persons for whom I am voting and that I am able to select the best amongst them according to my choice.
If I do not at all have sufficient Information about the contesting candidates – my Right to vote becomes hollow and meaningless.
Can I vote for a totally unknown person? Is that an effective right to vote?
Or, can I vote for lesser of 2 known D(evils)? Is that an effective right to vote?
Right to Vote is like Right to Life. I only have a Right to live. I do not have a Right to death.
Likewise, Right to vote is – right to vote for the best person, not for an unknown person – and definitely not for lesser of two (D)evils - which is tantamount to Right to death.
Right to Vote therefore, can only mean – right to vote for the person whom I consider the Best. This right is not merely an Individual right, which is relevant to me at my home. It is a social right – by which, I affect the whole society. Therefore I can’t have the right to vote for lesser of a few known devils or for an unknown person. That’s not Right to Vote at all.
This means :
(1) I must have adequate information about all contesting candidates – which enables me to judge their suitably reasonably
(2) That all candidates must possess reasonable attributes in my opinion – for being qualified for the Posts contested.
The second may be difficult for the Law to prescribe and provide immediately. But, give me the Info – and let me be the Judge of who I should vote for and who should govern me.
I want to know –
1. Their ages
2. Educational qualifications
3. Their criminal record, including pending cases and decided cases, including Jail sentences undergone (for detailed offences)
4. The languages they can read, write, speak
7. Profession or company associated with
8. The Political Parties they were in, in last 20 years
9. Social organizations associated with
10. Major awards, Medals, recognitions they received.
11. Any Major social service they have rendered
12. Association with the Constituency – period
13. Other Places in the country lived
14. Any services the candidate would definitely like to render to the constituency
Unless I know as Voter, such minimum details – how can I exercise my Right to Vote? It is becoming a meaningless, infructuous exercise. I definitely do not want to know their religion or caste and get influenced by that.
As on date, Right to Vote is more or less an empty right. We vote for a party and not for the person – that too, mostly based on their negative campaigning about the opposite Parties. This is obviously not the way to exercise my sacred right to vote.
So, my need for information is the first component right under Right to Vote. The candidates must provide this Info to the Election commission and then, may advertise or otherwise widely communicate in the constituency in any permitted way. If they give wrong Info – the election commission must be able to debar them at any time.
Once, this right to Info is available – my right to reject becomes the second most important component of the Right to Vote.
If I find – that all candidates are murderers, or, rowdy-sheeters, or totally illiterate or for any other reason - I feel they are not fit to govern me - I must be able to vote them all out.
So –“None of the Above” column is a must in the Ballot Paper, if my right to vote is to be exercised conscientiously.
Just as I have no right to death – likewise, I have no right to vote for a known evil person, who is unfit to govern or represent the constituency. While right to death is at least Individualistic – my right to vote wrongly exercised is a danger to all people.
What happens if many people are rejected in many constituencies in an assembly or even for Parliament? Many constituencies may go without elected candidates. In my view, this is a healthy sign of a democracy.
Let there be re-elections and let Parties, at least now, field more suitable candidates – barring all the already rejected candidates. If the same thing repeats a second time – let the state / centre be run with lesser MLAs / MPs – until the people find at least one candidate reasonably acceptable to them.
This type of active, participative democracy is essential for a country like India and needs to be implemented as first of the many electoral reforms needed in India.
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