People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 5

February 08, 2009



CPI(M) Suggestions To Ensure A More Free & Fair General Election

The CPI(M) has urged upon the Election Commission to see that the coming general elections are neither stretched too long nor held in too many phases. The elections may be held within a duration of three weeks.

Representing the Party at the all party meeting convened by the Election Commission on February 3, 2009 to discuss the coming general election, Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury also suggested that the EC hold a separate meeting with the media and evolve a code of conduct for its coverage of the elections. The EC also appeared to agree with this suggestion.

Below we publish the note of the CPI(M) which was submitted in the all party meeting.

  1. The schedule of polling for the Lok Sabha elections should not be stretched out too much. It should not exceed at the utmost three weeks.

  2. In states where there have been single day polling such as Kerala and Tamilnadu in the previous Lok Sabha elections, single phase polling should be maintained. There is no necessity to have multi-phase polling in such states which will only stretch resources and security requirements.

  3. The final voters list published on January 20, 2009 contain innumerable errors of various types like Ė name, husbandís/fatherís name, age voterís identity card number, male/female status, inconsistency of the top sheet of the voters list etc. This is particularly true in the post delimitation of constituencies. All the errors must be rectified and caution should be taken to avoid errors in the remaining voters lists.

  4. The practice of stopping the development works for the whole period of general elections must be reconsidered. Continuing developmental works like under NREGA should not be disrupted.

  5. Instructions have been issued to prohibit meetings in school and college grounds. This will make campaigning difficult. Open grounds for public meetings are limited. Agricultural lands are used throughout the year. School, college and club grounds are traditionally the proper places for public meetings. Meetings in the school and college grounds are to be allowed on holidays and with the proper permission from the school and college authorities.

  6. There have been a lot of complaints that in the constituencies bordering Bangladesh, Border Security Forces interfere in the election campaign, threaten local people, obstruct election campaign and movement of the campaigners and candidates in the villages adjoining the border. A proper instruction and guidelines for the BSF should be laid down by the Election Commission. BSF should not be allowed to interfere in political and election related issues.

  7. Special observers are generally appointed by the Election Commission apart from the observers for the individual constituencies to look after the electioneering in the whole state. Special observers exercising their authority, not mentioned anywhere, supersede the Chief Election Officer, direct the District Election Officers and the AROís without the knowledge of the CEO. Many complications and impediments arise because of this pattern of functioning of the special officers. Their areas of functioning need to be specified so that CEO, DEOís and Special Observers and observers can act in unison and conduct the poll in a collective way.