(LRS Chennai correspondent)
Forum for Electoral Integrity; SBIOA Educational Trust and Lok Raj Sangathan jointly organised a conclave in Chennai on 25th April. The theme of the conclave was “Electoral Integrity – Key to a Vibrant Democracy”. A large gathering of political activists, teachers and others attended the conclave.
The conclave started with a well-researched and informative presentation by Mr Devasahayam IAS (Retd) and Convener, Forum for Electoral Integrity. He made it clear that the reason for current injustices and excesses faced by the people of the state and all over India is because “vote has moved away from the noble exercise of registering people’s democratic will and has instead become a commodity either purchased (through bribes) or manufactured (by manipulating EVMs)”.
Following this panelists presented their views on the main presentation as well as related issues. They included Father Jegath Gaspar, Tamil Maiyam, Shri Nagal Swamy IA & AS (Retd), President, Makkal Paadhai, Dr. Thomas Franco, Secretary & Correspondent, SBIOA School, Shri Raghavan Srinivasan, Lok Raj Sangathan, Shri A. Subramanian, Welfare Party, Shri Chandramohan, Arappor Iyakkam.
The main presentation as well as interventions by panelists centred on increasing criminalization of politics and the extreme marginalization of people from the political process in Tamilnadu and elsewhere. The use of EVMs has paved the way for manipulation of election results even easier. Other than voting people do not have any role in the current political process. People have to remain as mute spectators while the rulers have act with impunity and are not at all accountable to the people. In order to change this situation, there has to be a concerted campaign to bring together all forces interested in changing the present situation and in bringing people to the centre-stage of the political process.