Lok Satta

Monday, 19 March 2012 15:27

Lok Satta Asks CEO to Order Probe Into Inducements Offered to Voters in the Recent Bye-Elections

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Lok Satta Party today (March 19,2012) requested the Chief Electoral Officer to order independent investigation into the inducements offered to voters in the recently concluded bye-elections to the A.P Assembly.

The following is the text of the representation made by V.Lakhman Balaji, State General Secretary of Lok Satta Party, to the CEO...



To

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Andhra Pradesh
Election Commission of India (ECI)
Secretariat ‘H’ Block
Hyderabad.



Sub: recently concluded bye-elections in AP –menace of large-scale vote-buying, offer of inducements, etc. recurred – ECI’s seizures of cash and materials – need for exemplary action against guilty parties and candidates - reg.


Dear Sir,

We commend the Election Commission of India (ECI) in general, and the AP Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)’s office in particular, for its proactive role in intercepting, seizing and confiscating cash, liquor and such other material inducements being transported for and distributed among voters during the recently concluded bye-elections. As a result of the above efforts (as reported widely in the media), a total of Rs. 9 crores in cash and 90,566 litres of liquor were seized which would have otherwise been directly deployed to bribe voters and unduly influence their electoral choice. As per the same media reports, a total of 30 cases too have been booked by the security personnel against the offenders. Your office itself has revealed that it had received numerous and credible complaints of blatant bribing, vote-buying, etc. Such instances of vote-buying and liquor distribution along with quantified ‘going rate’ for each vote by the traditional parties too have been unambiguously and prominently reported in print and electronic media (available in public domain).

However, such seizures of unaccounted for cash, liquor and other such material inducements intended to bribe voters are not new phenomena. Crores of rupees in cash have been seized, thousands of bottles of liquor have been confiscated, material inducements intended to bribe voters have been intercepted by the ECI during previous elections too. Cases too have been booked by the ECI in such cases.

Evidently, these are all instances of highly corrupt electoral practices and therefore blatant violations of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that are intended to unduly influence the electoral choices of voters and materially alter the outcome of elections. Needless to say, these violations are highly deleterious to the primary objective of the ECI to conduct free-and-fair elections.

We wish to emphasize that in previous instances where ECI has caused the booking of cases against offenders transporting and distributing cash, liquor and other material inducements to bribe voters and cases have not resulted in their timely and duly comprehensive conviction with imposition of statutory punishment. Consequently, traditional political parties, their candidates and political leaders who have encouraged and caused such widespread electoral offences and corrupt practices continue to operate unhindered. Once elections are conducted and results declared, these widespread offences are apparently neglected and not pursued. Clearly, such a casual and topical approach is neither sustainable nor desirable.

We therefore urge you to:

  • Order for a thorough, comprehensive and independent investigation of all cases and especially the most recent ones of seizure of unaccounted for cash, liquor and other material inducements intended to bribe voters. The sources, political operators, transportation couriers, political parties and candidates involved in the above electoral offences should be clearly and unambiguously identified. If necessary, the ECI should cause for such a probe to be taken up by a reputed and independent crime investigation agency such as the CBI.

  • Vigorously pursue those cases related to corrupt electoral practices booked against offenders towards securing timely and due punishment to the offenders.

  • Independently, the ECI can take proactive punitive and exemplary measures against the complicit parties and candidates. The Indian Constitution gives the ECI adequate mandate and powers to achieve this necessary objective.


The ECI must take up the above steps on an immediate basis towards ridding our election process of widespread corrupt practices and help serve the cause of free-and-fair elections.


Sincerely,


V. Lakshman Balaji
State General Secretary,
Lok Satta Party