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Local Government Electoral Reform (1999-ongoing)

Not enough attention has been paid in the country to the fact that much of the electoral reform in respect of local governments can be brought about through state legislation. LOK SATTA therefore drafted a Bill which could disqualify candidates committing specific offences from contesting elections. Thanks to the vigorous campaign mounted by LOK SATTA to mobilize public opinion, the state government gave a public commitment to enact a legislation on the lines suggested by LOK SATTA. In light of the recent Supreme Court judgment directing that all candidates for legislative office have to file a criminal and financial disclosure statement along with their nomination papers, LOK SATTA is calling for implementation of the Election Commission's order in respect of local governments also.

LOK SATTA's campaign for adopting Legislative Assembly electoral rolls for the local government elections has succeeded, with the state legislature recently enacting the law modeled after the draft Bill prepared by us.

LOK SATTA's initiatives to curb rigging also proved successful with the State Election Commission (SEC) agreeing to ensure automatic re-poll if 2 per cent tendered votes were polled in a polling station.

SEC also gave orders for making available election expenditure returns filed by candidates to people on demand for a small fee.

LOK SATTA's electoral reforms advocacy based on the insights and experience gained has now acquired the potential to build a national movement, around which all other governance reforms could be pursued.



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