Lok Satta

Sunday, 07 August 2011 10:12

Dr Kedar Diwan (LSP Mumbai President) letter to State Election Commission

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27th , July 2011

To,

Smt. Neela Satyanaranana,

State Election Commissioner,

State Election Commission,

New Administrative Building, 1st floor,

Opp. Mantrayala,

Mumbai 400 032

Sub: - Mumbai Municipal Corporation Elections to be held in February/March-2012.

Re: Clarification about Reserved Seats.

Madam,

We are a political party registered under Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 by Election Commission of India vide proceeding No. 56/152/2006/J.S. III dated 22nd December 2006.

Lok Satta (Led by Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan MBBS, Ex-IAS, Former Member of first “National Advisory Council to the Prime Minister”, Former Member of Vigilance Advisory Council to CVC” and Former Member of Second Administration Reforms Commission” , over last 15 years (10 years as a civil society movement (NGO) and 5 years as a political party), has evolved a set of beliefs, policies and approaches which are right for India, harmonize conflicting interests, and are broadly acceptable to all sections of the public.

Lok Satta through its state-wide movement in Andhra Pradesh, in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly elections offered the best and credible political platform for changing our politics by putting up 248 and 38 candidates for Assembly and Parliament elections respectively. It secured 1.72% of popular votes and 1 Assembly seat, with a low level of spent and almost blanking out by the major media in spite of popular support to the leader and the party in AP.

The forces of status quo are strong, entrenched and determined. They will yield neither politely nor easily. We therefore have to fight assiduously and make ethical politics sustainable and successful. It has been a continuous endeavour and conscious effort on part of Lok Satta to support, promote, nurture and envisage clean ethical and enshrined political culture and behavior.

Buoyed by our achievements in Andhra Pradesh, we have now embarked on an effort to take the Lok Satta promise and culture everywhere in the country.

We understand that the elections within Maharashtra are conducted as per the provisions of the Bombay Village Panchayats Act, 1958 and the Maharashtra Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 and the rules framed there under. The Election Commission has in terms of Section 10(2) and 12(2) of the respective Acts reserved seats for persons belonging to the Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, Backward Class of Citizens and Women. In terms of the said provisions, one third of the total number of seats are specifically reserved for women including women belonging to the above reserved categories and such seats are allotted by rotation to different Electoral Divisions.

In the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Elections of 2007, in furtherance of the implementation of the aforesaid provisions, a list was prepared and published by the Election Commission declaring the demarcations of Wards along with list of Wards specifically reserved for various classes and categories. A copy of the said list is enclosed herewith for your ready reference.

We further understand that by virtue of the Bombay Village Panchayats and the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis (Amendment), Act 2011 brought into effect from 21st April 2011, the aforesaid Acts have stood amended to the extent of incorporating the terms "one half" in place of "one third " appearing in various provisions of previous Acts as stated therein. In terms of the amendment, now in vogue, one half of the seats have now come to be reserved for women including women belonging to the above reserved categories.

In view of the aforesaid amendment, we believe that the list of Wards previously published (enclosed herewith) would have to undergo change/ modification/ alterations so as to implement the aforesaid Amendment into the forth coming Mumbai Municipal Corporation Elections proposed to be held in February-March 2012.

We believe that though the aforesaid Amended Act has been brought in force since 21st April 2011, no fresh list in respect of the Ward Reservations has been issued and/or published till date.

There are only 6 to 7 months remaining prior to the proposed Mumbai Municipal Corporation Elections. However, the total non availability of requisite information regarding the reservations as also demarcations of the Wards is creating severe hindrance for all political parties as also independent candidates to effectively participate as also make aware decisions for the seats they will be contesting elections from, thereby majorly disrupting the entire political process of fair elections. Certain further hurdles and impediments that are likely to be caused are as under:-

1. Lack of transparency in effective and fair elections, resulting in killing of the very concept of democracy;

2. Lack of information with regard to the specific reservations of the Wards resulting into confusions and chaos in effective planning for making public aware and informed about the credentials of the candidates standing from the area;

3. Non effective participation by educated and informed candidates;

4. Lack of information of candidates to general public;

5. Uninformed or biased decisions due to short time span for knowing their candidates ;

6. Lack of opportunity to nurturing of and projecting new leadership and newly established political parties thereby resulting into biased and uninformed voting by the public at large;

7. Promoting incompetent leadership;

8. Lack of sufficient time even for the candidates for deciding the Wards for which they might have to contest and prepare for the elections;

9. Possibility of undesired maneuvering and manipulations, thereby giving chances of unfair election and unfit candidates.

We hope that taking into consideration the aforesaid impediments and constraints, necessary steps will be taken at your end to publish and make available to the public at large the details of the bifurcations and/or reservation of the various wards for the forthcoming election, well and in advance, so as to ensure free, fair and informed elections in the interest of society and effective governance at grassroots level.

In the meantime, this is to kindly request you to:-

a) Confirm whether the list of wards and reservation of Wards as annexed hereto shall be in effect for the forth coming elections. If yes, then which are the additional Wards proposed to be specifically reserved for various categories and classes?

b) In the event of such list already being confirmed for the forth coming elections, kindly furnish a copy of such list?

c) To also circulate, inform and make available to public at large well in advance the detailed programme in respect of the forth coming Mumbai Municipal Corporation Elections as to the time span for a candidate to submit their application for nominations and the requisites thereof?

d) To start the process of filing nominations, well in advance (at least three months in advance) so the genuine new candidates have level paying filed with the candidates of the established political parties on one hand and public at large has enough time to understand, examine and make an informed choice.

We look forward to you for your early response in order to facilitate legitimate democratic activity by the general public. Kindly treat this as urgent in general interest of public at large.

We hope that this representation shall be considered and appreciated in its proper perspective and the continuous endeavour on part of Lok Satta will yield positive results and needful will be done in the matter at the earliest. Lok Satta, being an absolutely public spirited entity and/ or organization will support and welcome all positive steps and efforts taken in the aforesaid direction and are always ready to extend all possible co-operation that may be necessary from our end.

Yours truly,

Dr. Kedar Diwan

President

Lok Satta Party

Mumbai Pradesh