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Post Office as a Nodal Agency (2004)

Lok 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.

However, 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.

Lok 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)

It 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.

One lakh signature campaign in Mumbai:

A 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.


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