By: Akhil Puri
Shimla: The Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR) has its Himachal Election plans ready. The association, which started with filing a (Public Interest Litigation) PIL for making it compulsory to provide information by candidates of their personal records has been instrumental in brining out and disseminating the information to the voters for their consideration. The association has a pan India presence.
Speaking at a press conference, here, Trilochan Shastry, President, ADR, said that the association has been collecting data on the candidates through the affidavits filed by them and preparing a report on the same for the information of the voters.
According to him, this has been very helpful, and many political parties have taken note of the report and are trying to field cleaner candidates. Working since 2002 elections, the results were visible in the Bihar and UP elections with number of Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) with criminal records coming down considerably and over 95 per cent of first time MLAs with cleaner image. In a first for Bihar, there are no ministers with a criminal background/record. The report, though, has its limitations, as it only accounts for the affidavits filed by the candidates.
P R Mahesh from Lok Kalyan Mandal (LKM) will be heading the ‘Election Watch’ in Himachal in association with the ADR team from Uttrakhand, headed by Pawan Rana. Rana was responsible for overseeing the elections in Uttrakhand.
Uttrakhand, having similarities with Himachal, Rana said that the work of NGOs and Vyapar Mandals would be important in seeking information to the last level. Adding, Mahesh of LKM said that they would like people to question parties and candidates on their views on cleaner politics, use of Members of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development (MLALAD) funds by existing MLAs, amounting to Rs 1.25 crore in five years.
The association would be able to compile the entire data by December 3 and analyse it by December 10. The association urged the press, NGOs and other associations to pass on the findings to the masses through their medium.
The report would also be sent to the High Court, Hon’ble Judges, Bar Association, Senior Govt. Functionaries, etc.