NGO Moots Body to Create Awareness on NOTA Option
The Vellore Institute of Development Studies (VIDS) has urged the youth in the State to form a ‘Young Voters Front’ to create awareness on the need for positive voting and also to popularise ‘the None of the Above’ (NOTA) button option in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Founder-director of VIDS Dr P Jegadish Gandhi said such a front would be formed by the VIDS. “The front will be part of the voter education programme being promoted by the institute,” he said.
The proposed front would make use of the services of college students, fresh voters and others, to create awareness on the duties and responsibilities of the voters, candidates and the election system. “We would also make use of campus ambassadors from each of the colleges appointed by the Election Commission in this regard,” Gandhi added.
The institute would also organise a panel discussion on the ‘Election manifestos of the various political parties,’ in the last week of this month in Vellore. Senior academicians, students, social activists and women’s group members would be invited to share their opinion on the socio-economic and political content of the election manifestos released by the political parties in the fray. VIDS has also appealed to the proactive NGOs and social groups in every constituency to form a ‘consortium’ to file Public Interest Litigation to stop tainted candidates from contesting the forthcoming general election. “As most of the national and regional parties have announced their list of candidates, it is time the electorate woke up and forced the parties to recall tainted candidates. This is the only way we can make them mend their unethical practices,” he said.
Gandhi said while the Supreme Court had directed the trial courts to try criminal cases involving legislators on a fast-track basis, the same must be implemented in both letter and spirit. He said the number of Members of Parliament with criminal records had increased from 129 in 2004 to 150 in 2009 that included those with serious criminal cases.
Gandhi said the main reason for this was the lack of inner party democracy and the autocratic way of selection of candidates.