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’NOTA’ option use for electoral ills: former CEC

’NOTA’ option use for electoral ills: former CEC

Mangalore Today News Network

Mangaluru, July 21, 2016: Addressing the gathering, mostly bankers, DK DC too attended later, at the 15th Balasubramanian Memorial Lecture on the topic ’Subsidies, Freebies and Cash for Votes - Democracy in Peril’, organised by Corporation Bank Officers’ Organisation (CBOO) at its auditorium; Former Chief Election Commissioner of India N Gopalaswamy on July 20,  Wednesday asserted that NOTA, ’None of the Above’ option will emerge as an effective tool in fighting many ills in the electoral system in future.

BJP to set uplans ’raitha praharis’ to help farmers BJP,  Bharatiya Janata Party, Kisan Morcha state unit members Udupi have decided to set up ’raitha praharis’ system at every village-level, to get closer to farmers and help redress their grievances.   Announcing this, state vice-president of the Morcha and former MLC Shanthaveerappa Gowda said, "The ’raitha praharis’ will act as links between the Morcha and the farmers by bringing the problems faced by the agrarian community at ground-level to state executive of the party."  The concept that was introduced when former MLA Araga Jnanedra was heading the Morcha could not be realised in truth, said Gowda, adding, "The Morcha has, in every district, already nominated two farmers each to the state executive for effective functioning of the Morcha."  Praising PM Narendra Modi and crediting him for introducing 45 programmes in the last two years of his rule, Gowda blamed the state government for not coming to the rescue of paddy growers. He also suggested that the government should adopt the Kerala model, where paddy growers are encouraged with subsidy.  Accusing the state of practising step-motherly attitude, Gowda said that, while the coconut growers in many parts of the state continue to incur losses due to price crash, the growers in Udupi district are getting minimum support price. "In Tumakuru, although most of the farmers depend on copra, they are also deprived of minimum support price. Arecanut needs minimum support price of at least Rs 40,000 per quintal," he demanded.  Gowda said, the state Morcha has also thanked the prime minister for introducing many farmers welfare programmes like Pradhan Mantri Phasal Bima Yojana and soil health card to start with. Gopalaswamy particularly advised those who stay away from exercising their franchise to at least use NOTA option as a part of eternal vigilance to set right the system.   He also spoke on the poll scenario in the country, especially in the recent past, where freebies made news and the number of elected representatives with criminal backgrounds are on the rise with every elections. He termed it is a ’joke on the people’, as ’representatives with heinous crime records are framing legislations for the welfare of people’.

Citing the example of freebies being doled out in the elections, especially in his home state Tamil Nadu, Gopalaswamy said, "In the last 10 years, Rs 12,000 crore was spent on freebies and it may touch Rs 24,000 crore during the forthcoming budget - as freebies included in party manifestos with details on financial implications are allowed. The freebie culture that started with the distribution of television sets in Tamil Nadu, later expanded with the distribution of household articles, laptop and also rice."

Giving a list of people’s representatives with criminal past, Gopalaswamy said, "Of the total 224 MLAs elected to Karnataka Legislative Assembly in 2013, 74 (34%) were facing various charges an increase of 14% compared to 2008 polls. Of the total MPs elected to the Parliament in 2014, 185 had pending cases, with 75 among them facing serious charges like murder, rape, dacoity to name a few. In the year 2009, 161 MPs had such dubious past and 55 to 75 among them were facing serious charges. In the year 2004, it was in the order of 128 MPs and 55 facing serious charges."

Elected representatives were not lagging behind in accumulating wealth as their assets saw a phenomenal rise after every elections. Without taking the name of anybody, Gopalaswamy said, "There was one person (in Karnataka) whose assets grew by 34,557 % during 2004 and 2009. He literally ’minted’ money’. It was during the same period overall growth of assets of legislators in Karnataka increased by 797 %."

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