The Chief Election Commissioner on proxy voting for NRIs, the fake news challenge, electoral bonds, and why EVMs are the best option In the Monsoon session, the Lok Sabha passed a Bill that allows ‘proxy voting’ to non-resident Indians (NRIs). Is it going to be a game changer? Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat talks about the genesis of the idea, shares his concerns about the “opacity” that exists in political funding, and why the demand to return to the paper ballot is illogical.
The EC promptly gets cases registered against those who make hate speeches. But many believe that strong punitive action is not taken against the offenders as a follow-up. Should the EC have more powers?
Our system is quite robust. All legal provisions exist for substantive offences to be registered in appropriate cases. In case of regular hate speeches by someone that tend to influence the voters, there are MCC provisions to censure the politician. If they don’t relent, the EC debars them from campaigning, like Azam Khan and Amit Shah were debarred. Our election process is protected from interference under Article 329 of the Constitution. We have not given statutory backing to the MCC, but it is agreed upon by all political parties that they will submit to the Code. If they violate it, the EC can derecognise you, freeze your symbol.
What is your view on simultaneous polls?
Simultaneous polls can be done, but all political parties have to agree to it.