Sensitized electorates should demand Progress Report from Parliamentarians, Legislatures via ECI

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Voters in queue. File photo.

As the first of the massive seven-phase General Election 2019 takes off on April 11, 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha, the electorates this time seem to be more assured of whom to vote. It is also expected that the voting percentage will surely increase this time. The political parties and aspirant candidates, this time are finding it difficult to convince the masses, who have more queries for the candidates relating to their abilities to perform as their representative.

On the other hand, Election Commission of India (ECI) – the Constitutional Autonomous authority responsible for administering election processes in India, through the imposition of Code of Conduct brings out the true essence of Indian Constitution, and its execution can be felt just once in five years during Lok Sabha election. Right from the moment after declaration of Poll date(s), ECI takes the steering wheel of the nation till the declaration of the result, this time on May 23. The poll bound period is the only time the political parties and individuals refer to the Constitutional obligations. Once the popular government is installed, Constitutional Power is being interpreted to either suit the affluent individual or the government in power.

The election to the 17th Lok Sabha has also witnessed few exceptional incidents, where the Election Commission has exercised its power preventing the vested interest to make a mockery of Indian Constitution. The High Office of Election Commission of India was made glamorous by the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India, Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan, in view of his rigid stance to abide by the Constitutional commitment, but he could not muster enough support to elect him to the office of President of India after his retirement as the Parliamentarians already had the phobia called T N Seshan. All Parliamentarians unanimously agreed to avoid having a President who might be inflexible when it comes to Constitutional Duties.

The combination of the sensitized electorates and the esteemed office of ECI, in real term are the decision makers when it comes to General Election. The voting public , are like the Queens and the Kings during the Code of Conduct period, while the ECI keeps surveillance on every activities in the poll bound nation making sure of peaceful and fair exercise.

But such vigilance is just for 30 to 45 days, depending on the phases of the poll date. During 2014 election, ECI had curbed the practice of Paid News, since the ceiling of expenditure was fixed and posters were banned. For 2019 election, social media and its network were under close-surveillance, mainly to curb fake news.

As mentioned, this time the electorates are more aware of their Rights. National issues mentioned in respective manifestoes of the political parties does not convert into votes as much as individual Parliamentary constituency or Assembly constituency. It means, the masses are looking for performances and infrastructure development within their own constituency, hence, even the national security is taken as third important issue when it comes to priority list of the candidate.

Under such circumstances, and to make the representatives more accountable, the masses should take up a mass movement, demanding that the elected representatives should mandatorily make public the Progress Report of the five years, as to how the schemes and projects were executed and also mentioning the details on participation in debates in the Parliament and the percentage of attendance in the Parliament session held during the term in office. Such documents should be submitted via the State Election Commissions on behalf of the ECI, than only transparency of all schemes and projects can available for public to audit.