The Election Commission is set to add a bit of Samba to Indian elections.
The seventh and final regional consultation for electoral reforms ended in Guwahati on Sunday with the EC voting for the Brazilian model of conducting elections. The technology –Voter Verifiable Paper Trail (VVPT) – used by the South American country will be tried out in 200 polling stations across India soon.
VVPT, chief election commissioner SY Quraishi said, will supplement the existing electronic voting machine or EVM. “We have decided to try out the VVPT in polling stations experiencing extreme weather conditions such as Ladakh. The experiment will be done in presence of representatives of all political parties. If they approve, the system can be a reality,” he said.
VVPT provides a printed ballot as a receipt which a voter can view to verify his or her vote before leaving an EVM. The method can ensure the accuracy of recorded votes by comparing the electronic data with the collected receipts.
The deliberations on Sunday were on criminalization of politics, financing of elections, conduct and better management of elections, regulating political parties, auditing of finances of political parties, adjudication of election disputes and the review of anti-defection laws. “We’ve got the pulse of the people now. The proposals will be submitted to the government and the Parliament,” Quraishi said.
Union law minister Veerappa Moily said the process of consultations that started in September last year was a unique experiment. The focus of the entire process, he added, was to give voice to millions of people in the country.
Among other proposals that emerged from the deliberations was barring a candidate from contesting a second time if there were dissimilarities in assets and properties as indicated by him in his affidavit in the previous election. “The idea is to eradicate corruption at the roots,” Moily said, adding that the fear of law needed to be injected in the minds of lawmakers.
With the consultations having ended, the EC will now prepare the draft and invite suggestions before submitting it to the Cabinet. The Cabinet Standing Committee will then ask for objections, if any. Moily said the draft would be placed before the Parliament by this December.