It's three years since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections happened. Three years that have hardly been punctuated by the absence of a scams. In fact this is recognized as the worst period since independence having almost no examples of good governance. This leads us to revisit the 2009 Lok Sabha elections which are now being called as India's vote gate where "results" were available before the voting was completed.
The events are well captured in the presentation here. The Election Commission of India has turned a blind eye to repeated requests to follow through and clear the air. They have not even initiated election reforms to ensure such an event will not happen again. The key reforms needed to prevent a repeat of the 2009 scenario are
- Issuing receipts to voters
- Ensuring any election is audit able and audited by third parties
- Make voting easy and ubiquitous by using internet, mobile and ATM's to capture votes
The Election Commission must adapt clear norms to certify a democratic election process. Any program on election reforms must therefore ensure:
- the election is transparent: no election is transparent if it does not provide for and conduct independent third party audits by anyone or continues to use closed standards and technologies (like the current imported EVMs that do not follow open standards and are not verifiable to confirm to security standards by the ECI themselves) to manage any part of the process.
- the election is honest: no election is honest or accountable if it denies a receipt to each voter (and hides behind "secrecy" clauses rather than enforcing "privacy" standards and law and order) and a poll-booth vise statement of voters, votes cast and votes received by each candidate to the public (or requires court interventions or RTI applications for any of these).
- the election is fair: no election is fair if it denies the right cast (even for a single election) and then to track ones vote at least throughout the tenure of the elected body (if not for life).
- the election is open: no election is open unless it allows everyone the possibility to exercise franchise in a multitude of ways (by paper, by mobile, by ATM, by internet, by EVM etc) from a multitude of locations (anywhere in the world).
- the election is people centered: no election is people centered unless it allows the people a continued right and ability to shift their vote to an alternate candidate any time in the tenure of the elected body (or better for life).
- the election must be a level-playing field: no election is level-field unless it eliminates provides each candidate an identical opportunity to reach out to the community.
- the election must be public: no election is public unless it satisfies transparency, honesty, fairness, openness, is people centered and provides a level flied.
By corollary an election fraud would repeatedly deny one or more of these. It is time that the entire election process is reviewed and audited by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India. It is also necessary that the Central Bureau Of Investigation take note of vote gate and launch investigations so that it will not repeat. After all the government "elected" through this scam has resulted in loot of the country's wealth, pride and honor.