Monday, January 9, 2012


A fortnight ago, my professor called me and asked me to represent our college for elocution on “Electoral Reforms” somewhere in other reputed college. Bearing the trademark - silver tongue orator, it’s like summoning me to a task I’m accountable for. What anyone would do if he/she is assigned a task like this? Surfs net obviously! So did I. Surfing net sounds such an irksome job when you are not aware of pertinent URL for the topic. With all my endurance, I collected some important data from various sites and I presented it in an arresting manner. Hope this’d be an abstract for you if you are here for the topic “Electoral Reforms”. This is my attempt as a student. Any relevant corrections are kindly considered.
Before getting into the actual content, let’s call our system of governing. It’s Democracy - the great Democracy that takes in illustrious outline, “to the people, for the people and by the people”. The basic definition of a democracy is the right to change the rules. So the quotation “change is the only thing that never changes” sounds apt. It was the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who said, “You cannot step into the same river twice.” By this, Heraclitus meant that permanence is an illusion—nothing is, ultimately, permanent and the entire universe is in a constant state of flux or motion rolling ceaselessly into eternity.
And now the word electoral refers to the activities related to elections and voting. If we go through the site, the first thing that’s put on show is “Our Electoral System”. It is provided with each and every detail of our fragile electoral system. Why I’m calling this, fragile is because of two main reasons - Lack of Televised Debates by the contestants at all levels and a lot of criminals with all the black money in the fray. For example, a couple of months ago, I enthusiastically watched a debate among contestants of the US President in my favourite channel BBC. Can any political party or media of our country dare to do this? Absolutely, no!
Contained by the comprehension, let me explain you the electoral reforms of our country. An Electoral reform is change in electoral systems to improve how public desires are expressed in election results. In the article, “Electoral Reforms in India: Proactive Role of Election Commission”, posted my Mr.Sumandeep Kaur, he stated that “In continuance of the British legacy, India has opted for parliamentary democracy. Since 1952, the country has witnessed elections to the legislative bodies at both the national as well as State levels. The electoral system in India is confined by so many hurdles and irrelevant factors. Such maladies encourage the anti-social elements to jump into the electoral fray”.
Code of Conduct for the election gives the rules of election process to all the political parties. As the way the code is being changed, electoral reforms sound apt. Let’s go with another example. It’s clear from the article “Islamists Electoral Rise Due to Failed Secularism” by Pankaj Mishra that secularism plays a major role in elections. The article explains the state of affairs in Islam countries. If this is the measure, then the system is not surprisingly a failure.
Regardless of the reforms, the latter can be encouraged more by forming an Electoral Reform Society. Like, The Electoral Reform Society that’s a political pressure group based in the United Kingdom which promotes electoral reform. It is believed to be the oldest organization concerned with electoral systems in the world. It’s a nongovernmental organization founded in 1884.
What does this society work on? What are the reforms that are to be encouraged? Let me explain you. Everything regarding these reforms is related to Voting System. There are several such voting amendments like two round system, Instant run off system etc.,
The most widely discussed electoral reform in India is first-past-the-post system. A candidate wins the election by securing just 30-35 per cent of the total number of votes polled. Hence he or she cannot be deemed to be a choice of majority of the electorate. To overcome this limitation, the first-past-the-post system should be replaced with a two-stage electoral process. In this, a second round of election will be held if none of the candidates in the fray is able to get 50 per cent of the total number of votes polled in the first round. The two candidates who have obtained the maximum number of votes in the first round will fight in the second round. Whoever between the two gets more than 51 per cent of the total votes polled in the second round is declared the winner.
There are 15 main proposed reforms by T N Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner of India being supported by every commissioner like T S Krishna Murthy till Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, current commissioner, that make our election system and democracy tough. Major reforms awaited are -
  • Simultaneous elections for Union and State legislatures
  • Fixed tenure of elected legislative bodies
  • Decrease number of registered parties
  • Increase the amount of Security Deposit
  • Not allowing candidates to contest from more than one constituency in an election like NTR and Chiranjeevi for example.
Let us hope that these reforms would definitely come into focus without any delay like Lokpal Bill – what we are witnessing every day.
And eventually, our India is great. Let’s preserve the greatness by availing the amenities like voting. Do never ignore that. Serve the country, save the nation.
Thank you