State Election Commissions should be treated on par with Election Commission of India – Maharashtra Governor
The Governor of Maharashtra CH. Vidyasagar Rao expressed the view that the State Election Commissions play significant role in conducting elections to local state governments, thereby strengthening democracy at the grassroots level. In this connection, the Governor called for treating the State Election Commissions in various states on par with the Election Commission of India and providing them adequate funds, functions and functionaries.
The Governor was speaking at the first International Conference of Election Commissioners and Election Conducting Authorities for local self-governments organized by the State Election Commission of Maharashtra in Mumbai on Thursday (25 Oct).
State Election Commissioners from various states and election conducting authorities for local state governments from various countries are participating in the 2 – day conference.
Stating that the population of Maharashtra alone was greater than the combined population of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together, Vidyasagar Rao said the task of Maharashtra State Election Commission is mammoth considering the fact that the Commission returns 250,000 local representatives every 5 years from approximately 28000 local self-governments.
Stating that quite often criminal record of candidates is ignored in the face of winnability of the candidate, the Governor expressed the view that there should be broad-based consensus among political parties that persons with criminal background are not offered party tickets to contest elections.
Mentioning that India is emerging as a youthful nation in the world, the Governor recommended starting ‘Democracy Clubs’ in schools and Colleges to engage students with democracy and the election process.
He called upon the State Election Commissions to deliberate on making the electoral process more inclusive for Persons with Disabilities and also for officials who are unable to cast their vote on account of national duty.
The Governor asked the State Election Commission of Maharashtra to create a digital platform for the sharing of experiences and success stories relating to the conducting of elections to local state bodies by various states and national governments. Such platform, he said would help in adopting the best practices.
Maharashtra’s Minister for Rural Development Pankaja Gopinath Munde, Leader of the Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Maharashtra State Election Commissioner J S Saharia, Commission Secretary Shekhar Channe, and delegates were present.