Office as a Nodal Agency (2004)
Satta's six-year long advocacy for Post Office to be made
the nodal agency for the voter registration is now a reality.
Finally, Election Commission of India vindicated the efforts
of Lok Satta by issuing a series of directives to utilize
Post Offices in the voter registration process. Lok Satta
views this as a significant step in cleansing the electoral
roles and making the voter registration process accessible
to all citizens.
in furtherance of Lok Satta's goal, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan
sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner of India,
Mr. T.S. Krishnamurthy, suggesting few more additional steps
to make this initiative successful and durable. The current
Election Commissioner's directive provides for displaying
the voter rolls in the Post Office. Lok Satta has recommended
that the voter lists for each polling station be also offered
for sale at a price higher than the cost of printing. This
will enable the cash-strapped postal department to make
some money and provides incentive to the Post Office to
be involved in this work. It will also provide the citizens
access to the electoral rolls at their doorstep. As many
citizens don't know under which Post Office their polling
station will fall, Lok Satta has suggested that each delivery
Post Office display a list of polling stations that come
under its jurisdiction.
Satta has strongly recommended that the deadline for the
summary revision be extended up to at least 31st December
2004, and preferably up to 31st March 2005. Unfortunately,
this significant initiative by the EC hasn't received much
media attention, and as a result, the public at large is
unaware that they can use the Post Office for voter registration.
Lok Satta has urged the EC to undertake a mass communication
campaign to make the citizens aware of this process. Short,
interesting films of 30-60 sec duration could be produced
and telecast in all government and private channels
Maharashtra Election Watch (2004)
was election time in Maharashtra during September 2004,
another opportunity for Lok Satta to draw people to participate
in the Election Watch campaign. Lok Satta, along with AGNI
(Action for Good Governance and Networking India) and Anna
Hazare's organisation 'Bhrastachar Virodhi Jan Andolan,'
came together under 'People's Movement Against Criminalisation
of Politics' to fight the malady afflicting our democracy
- criminalization of politics. As a part of this campaign
Shri Anna Hazare toured the state of Maharashtra sensitizing
the people about the dangers of criminalization of our polity.
The Maharashtra Election Watch committee released a report
on the educational, financial and criminal background of
the candidates contesting in the forthcoming Assembly elections
in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Election Watch, with the help
of Lok Satta, analyzed the affidavits of 1,625 candidates,
representing all major political parties in the state. The
findings revealed that of the 1,625 candidates, 366 candidates
had a criminal background. This means that 22.5% of the
candidates had criminal cases pending against them.
lakh signature campaign in Mumbai:
signature campaign was launched to get one-lakh endorsements
from the people of Mumbai on this raging issue of 'criminalisation
of politics'. The volunteers from all over the city enthusiastically
supported our Mumbai team of Lok Satta. This massive exercise
was undertaken at important public places in Mumbai with
high concentration of people like railway stations, bus
stops, etc. As a result of this exercise, it became very
evident that the people are really vexed with the problem
of criminalisation of politics and are looking for an outlet
to vent their anger against criminalisation of politics.