Politicians are unwilling to arm the common man with the ultimate weapon-right to reject or recall an election candidate-a demand flagged by anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare.
At the first Hindustan Times Conclave in Uttar Pradesh (UP), senior politicians including Samajwadi Party chief and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, former BJP chief Rajnath Singh and national SC/ST commission chairman and Congress MP PL Punia rejected the "reject/recall" demand. According to a recent HT Survey, 54% people favour the "recall" option.
The conclave, presented by realty firm Ansal API, was held at Hotel Taj on Saturday.
While agreeing that the role of money and muscle power in elections was worrying, the leaders did not favour fixing an eligibility for contesting polls and also cast doubts on state funding of elections.
VK Bhasin, secretary, ministry of law and justice, said a group of ministers had been set up to consider whether such funding would be full or partial. "A proposal regarding funding women and SC/ST candidates is being discussed," said Bhasin.
The leaders came up with alternatives to give more transparency to elections and more credibility to politicians.
"I think the present first-past-the-post system should be replaced with one where candidates are declared elected only if they get at least 50% votes, because even those who get low votes due to low voter turnout get elected," Rajnath Singh said.
They all spelled out development of infrastructure and agriculture as the priority areas for UP post next year's elections.
When quizzed on possible post-poll alliances, all of them claimed their respective parties would gain a majority.