New Delhi: Raising their pitch on electoral reforms, Anna Hazare
and his team on Thursday demanded that 'right to reject' option be
included in Electronic Voting Machines and that two election commissioners
be given constitutional status like the chief election commissioner.
During their meeting with the Election Commission, Team Anna also voiced
support for barring candidates against whom a court has framed charges,
from contesting elections.
Hazare, along with his close associates Santosh Hegde, Prashant Bhushan,
Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, discussed the matter for about an hour
with Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi.
The Team raised issues like inclusion of form 49(O), wherein a voter can
say he does not want to vote for any of the candidates, use of totalizer
in the counting process and barring of candidates against whom courts have
According to Team Anna, the meeting was "very useful" and the Commission
was "very receptive" to their ideas and demands.
After the meeting, Hazare told reporters that 'right to reject' was "very
important" and that it would help in "cleansing" the electoral scenario.
Bedi said there was no need for bringing the right to reject issue in
Parliament as it just needs an amendment in rules. "The matter is pending
with the Law Ministry since 2001. What is needed is a rule amendment. It
just needs a notification," Bedi said.
To a question on reports about government plans to take the power from the
Commission to oversee implementation of Model Code of Conduct, Hazare said
it was wrong if the government was planning to do so.
"This is wrong. The Election Commission is an independent body. The
government should not have any hold on the body. If there is interference,
then the body will lose it power. If the government does so, then there is
no point in talking about independence of the Election Commission," he
While the chief election commissioner is constitutionally protected,
Hazare said also said the two election commissioners should also be given
the same status.