By Dr Amrit Patel:
Mahatma Gandhi ji brought political freedom for the people of India and the country became independent and sovereign since 15th August, 1947. However, till date after the precious 66 years, a large number of people have yet not been economically emancipated. Despite the country’s political leaders boasting of India being the largest democracy in the world, a large number of people living in villages, hilly, tribal, desert, drought, flood & cyclone-prone areas, among others, have been deprived of basic minimum needs with respect to drinking water, sanitation, electricity, education, health and road connectivity while elected legislators who represent people have been enjoying all luxurious facilities, services and assets. It is shocking that over a period of time a good number of legislators have developed a record of serious crimes, frauds, embezzlement, misuse & abuse of power etc. In the process, they consider themselves above the law. Therefore, for electors of Chhatisgarh, 11th November, 2013 is a historical day to vote en masse [100%] – voting to elect good and responsible candidates and pledge to defeat criminals and crorepatis who must lose their deposits.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms and Chhatisgarh Election Watch, 143 candidates are contesting from 18 State Assemblies during the first phase of the election on 11th November, 2013. Thus, electors of these 18 constituencies have ample scope to choose 18 worthy candidates out of 143. What is most important is that all eligible electors must necessarily vote en masse and pledge to defeat all those 15 candidates who have declared criminal cases against themselves of which six have serious criminal cases that include murder, kidnapping, criminal intimidation and crime against women.
Besides, the ADR study also shows how 25 of 143 candidates have become crorepatis and many of them have claimed to have been exempted from paying income-tax. Election Commission has endeavored its best to create facilitating environment for all eligible electors to cast their votes on this day. Now it is for you, the voters of these 18 constituencies to rise to the occasion and seize the opportunity. If they do not find a worthy candidate then they must press button exhibiting NOTAÂ [none of the above] and demonstrate their displeasure.
Media has indeed played an exceedingly good role to organize a well-intentioned discussion at the national level by creating significant awareness among masses regarding the good and bad role played by the Congress and Bhartiya Janata Party in Chhatisgarh. Electors must note that despite so much hue and cry against criminals contesting election, the BJP has fielded three such candidates, the Congress, SP and BSP each has fielded two candidates exhibiting their total disrespect to the people’s voice and spirit of democracy. Electors must not only defeat them but see that they lose their deposits too.
It is most essential and desirable for the Election Commission and media to bring all the candidates from the respective constituencies on a common platform to have face to face discussion with electors on their issues and to determine the worthiness of the candidate. Electors are interested and would like to hear whether the candidates are aware of the people’s needs and what their strategy is, to fulfill these needs rather than promises in the form daylight dreams included in their political party’s manifesto, just to mobilize votes and then forget to even attempt fulfilling them.