A campaign to awaken the people, let the country rise and VOTE
Anupam Jakhar Dhwanit Agarwal Divyansh Shukla
Sumit Kumar Vignesh Reddy
• Political parties are weakly institutionalized and prefer candidates who are well resourced
to independently finance their campaigns.
• Candidates who are well resourced might be in a position to directly provide funds to the
party for the privilege of running or to subsidize poorer candidates.
• Criminal candidates could engage in rent seeking on behalf of political parties and may
even help to protect the party’s illegal activities using muscle power and resources of
• “Note ke badle vote” - Bribes from political parties to voters, in the form of
cash, goods (alcohol, blankets, etc.) , or services, are a regular feature of
elections in India.
• Slums are vulnerable to these practices because their population density and
poverty allows them to be ‘easily mobilized' by bribes.
• Voters from a particular demographic or known to support a particular party or
candidate are directly threatened by supporters of another party or candidate
or by those hired by them.
No. of MPs
No. of crorepati
Close to 40% of Lok Sabha candidates belonging to leading political parties face criminal charges
such as assault, extortion, rioting, attempt to murder and defamation
Why political parties choose candidates with CRIMINAL backgrounds and/or
DISPROPORTIONATE ASSETS ??
What political parties do with this acquired POWER and FINANCIAL
Electoral reforms to reduce impact of money and muscle power in politics : Our proposed
solutions at a glance
We propose a three-fold solution to this problem:
• Smart Voter Campaign (SVC) – Helping people make the right choice
• Steps to increase voter turn out
• People will be encouraged to choose their candidate based on virtues and/or past work
Judicial and Electoral Commission Reforms
• Reforms in Chief Election Commissioner selection procedure
• Judicial Reforms to scrutinize poll contestants and approve of their candidature
Media and Other Reforms
• Govt. funds not to be used for party campaigns and advertisements
• Restriction on campaigning in 48 hours before elections
• Compulsory maintenance of accounts by political parties
Smart Voter Campaign (SVC)
There are around 6 lakh
villages in India and the
people living here are
highly vulnerable to
political power play.
If we want to reduce the
impact of money and
muscle power in politics,
we need to reach out to
In order to do this, we
propose SVC by the
whose main aim is to help
voters choose their
We will build a network
of members who will visit
these villages and
educate the residents on
right ways to vote.
Villagers will be told to
look at long term goals
and not be influenced by
gimmicks such as cash for
This will be achieved by
gatherings and organizing
street plays .
• Educated people will be
recruited to lead the teams that
will visit villages.
• Internships will also be offered
to college students.
• Both online and offline
applications will be invited and
members will be chosen on the
basis of educational
qualification and past social
• Recruitment will be for a period
of 30 days and a stipend of
Rs.5000 will be given.
• Recruited personnel will report
to the District Electoral Office.
• They will go through a week
long orientation program to
train them to address gatherings
and effectively convey our
message to the masses.
• The District Electoral Office will
collaborate with NREGA to
provide their beneficiaries a job
for 30 days on behalf of NREGA.
• We will form teams with seven
people consisting of two SVC
members and five NREGA
beneficiaries who will visit the
• The team will be directly
managed by the District
• Each team will visit two villages
every alternate day.
• Each team will be required to
make a report on the execution
of the campaign and the
response of people.
• This report will have to be
approved by the village
panchayat and submitted to
respective District Electoral
Operational Roadmap of SVC
Hierarchy of SVC Unit
All the SVC teams will report to their respective District Electoral Offices
which will ensure proper functioning of the campaign at the regional level.
They will be supervised by the State Electoral Commission. At the national
level, the SVC will be headed by the Election Commission of India.
Human Resources Involved
• There are about 6 lakh villages in India. Since each team
covers an average of 30 villages, we will require 20,000 teams.
Thus, we will need 40,000 SVC members and 1,00,000 NREGA
• There is an average of 1,000 villages per district. Thus, there
will be around 30 - 35 teams operating in each district. This can
be efficiently managed by the District Electoral Office.
• The addressing of gatherings will be done by SVC members,
while the gathering of the villagers will be done by the NREGA
Financial Resources Required
Transportation Cost (Free bus
passes will be given)
Training Cost (10k/district x
600 districts = 60 lakhs)
NREGA Workers (1 lakh
workers paid by NREGA)
SVC Members salary
(40k x 5k = 20 crores)
• Currently, we are proposing that the campaign will be conducted in the year of the Lok Sabha elections.
• The calculated cost of approximately 20.60 crores will be provided by the Government of India.
• In 2009, Rs.1,120 Crores was budgeted for election expenses by the Indian Parliament.
• Our costs amount to roughly 2% of the total election budget.
Proposed Source of Funding
Impact of SVC
Impact on Electorate
SVC members will conduct the campaign in
about 6 lakh villages across India. The
campaign will have an impact on about 6
The voter turnout will increase and voters
will become immune to political stunts.
It will lead to a larger number of clean
candidates winning elections.
It will provide temporary employment to
around 40,000 SVC members and 1 lakh
Its 1 week long orientation program and
subsequent field work will provide its
members with enhanced communication
and managerial skills.
The people will become socially responsible
and aware of the issues plaguing our
Challenges and Mitigation
• Difficulty in collaborating with Electoral
Offices and NREGA.
• Sufficient number of people may not be
interested in joining our campaign.
• The villagers may not be willing to attend
• Since SVC is implemented at a very large
scale, the possibility of corruption at
different levels of implementation of the
campaign is high.
• Extending SVC to urban areas.
• In case a problem in collaboration arises,
we can appoint an SVC representative at
each District Electoral Office.
• If SVC falls short of members (even
though a stipend of Rs.5000 is quite
attractive), we can ask NGOs for human
• We can provide the villagers with
incentives to attend the gatherings.
• Once SVC has been successfully
implemented in villages, proper plans can
be devised to bring urban areas under its
Judicial and EC Reforms
• A person accused of serious criminal charges and where the Court is prima facie satisfied about his involvement in the crime and consequently
framed charges, should be barred from the electoral arena in greater public interest. However, as a precaution against politically motivated cases, it
may be provided that only those cases which were filed prior to six months before an election alone would lead to disqualification as proposed. It is
also suggested that persons found guilty by a Commission of Enquiry should also stand disqualified from contesting elections.
• The President of India (based on a recommendation from incumbent Government of India) appoints the Chief Election Commissioner. This poses a
serious conflict of interest. We propose that the Chief Election Commissioner should be appointed by a bipartisan collegium consisting of the Prime
Minister, the Chief Justice, the Law Minister and the Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Media and Other Reforms
• It has been seen that on the eve of election, the Government embarks on advertisement sprees in the guise of providing information to the
public. The expenditure on such advertisements is obviously incurred from the public exchequer. We propose that when any general election is due
on the expiration of the term of the House, advertisements of achievements of the governments, either Central or State, in any manner, should be
prohibited for a period of six months prior to the date of expiry of the term of the House
• We recommend that house to house visits by candidates / supporters should be specifically prohibited 48 hours before elections. House-to-house
visit / contact in the last hours provides the opportunity for indulging in malpractices such as trying to bribe voters with cash.
• Political parties must be required to publish their accounts annually for information and scrutiny of the general public and all concerned, for
which purpose the maintenance of such accounts and their auditing to ensure their accuracy is a pre-requisite. Auditing may be done by any firm of
auditors approved by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
• The proposed judicial reforms will lead to a significant reduction in the number of
criminal candidates contesting in elections.
• Compulsory audit of political parties will lead to transparency in the matter of
collection of funds by the political parties and also about the manner in which those
funds are expended by them.
• The amount of public money spent on advertisements will decrease.
• The influence of political malpractices on the public will be reduced.
The biggest challenge to the implementation of these reforms is the lack of political
will. The political parties, who are responsible for introducing these reforms, are the
one who use the political practices that these reforms are designed to counter.
We have used the following sources for information