Electoral reform may discourage independents from contesting
Lucknow: Excepting ten all other independent candidates lost their deposits in the assembly election in Uttar Pradesh in the year 2012. And it was not an exception. In every other previous assembly and Lok Sabha elections non-party candidates in large numbers have filed their nominations only to lose their security deposits. But it has not been a deterrent . The situation is unlikely to be different in the coming assembly poll in the state.
Several suggestions have been made from time to time to effect a change but either they were ignored or were ineffective. Clearly,the Election Commission and the government have to come out with something different. One way to stop an independent from contesting is to debar him or her for six years or more if he or she does not get a certain percentage of votes.
Bagging of minimum six per cent of the total valid votes polled is a pre-condition for recognition of a party as national one. The same percentage may be fixed for debarring an independent from contesting for six years or more.Normally, an independent gets two or three per cent votes.
An increase in security deposit amount from Rs ten thousand for the Lok Sabha elections and Rs 5000 for the assembly elections may also do the trick. Independents belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have to deposit half of that sum.
But for any change, the Representation of Peoples Act,1951, has to be amended which can be done only by parliament. It can be easily said than done.
A look at recent election results may make the situation bare. Assembly elections were held in four states last year . West Bengal was one of the states which had gone to the poll.The average votes polled by independents in the state was 2.2 per cent. As many as 3500 candidates had joined the fray in these states out of which only ten were victorious. Most of them had lost their security deposits.
Similarly, in the year 2011 only seven independents had won in these states. As far as Uttar Pradesh is concerned, only ten independents were victorious in the assembly election in the state in 2012. As many as 1691 independents had filed their papers in that election.
Filing of nomination has not begun for the 2017 election in the state. But there may not be a fall in the number of independents in the upcoming election. Most of those who will be denied party tickets are likely fight as independents in addition to others.