Jagan planning ‘corruption free’ polls for local bodies

Siasat.com

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy is mulling a major electoral reform to make the upcoming polls to local bodies free of corruption.

The elections, especially to the panchayat bodies, are notorious for malpractices and ‘note for vote’ is the norm. Liquor flows like water during the elections.

Jagan is planning to bring about amendments to the PR Act to eliminate the role of money and liquor in the PR elections.

The state cabinet which met on Wednesday approved crucial amendments to the statute. These amendments will incorporate severe penal provisions in the PR Act.

The argument is that since the government has launched many cash transfer schemes along with a number of welfare measures, there is no need for bribing the voters in the election.

Jagan is said to have instructed for immediate implementation of the amendments stating that the next PR elections slated in the mid-March should be the beginning of the end of the money and liquor in Andhra Pradesh.

“We have taken care of all the essential requirements of the people from education to health to housing. Cash transfer schemes like Ammavadi are being implemented. The pension mount has been increased. These steps are supposed to put an end to the money distribution in the elections. If we don’t curb the menace of corruption, not the political parties but the corporates can alone contest the elections,” is what Jagan reportedly told the cabinet. The government will get an ordinance issued to this effect in the next few days.

The proposed amendments envisage disqualification of the members of panchayat and MPTC and ZPTC if found guilty of corruption or malpractices besides facing a jail term of three years and a fine of Rs 10,000.

The duration of the campaign will also be reduced to curb the malpractices. These steps will be made applicable to both urban as well as rural elections.

The amendments also make it mandatory for the sarpanch to live in the village during his term.

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