My Letter to The Chief Electoral Officer, Telangana

Date: 25th Oct 2018, updated 14th Nov 2018

Shri Rajat Kumar,
Chief Electoral Officer - Telangana,
Election Commission.

Regarding: Potential Violations of Election Code by Candidates and Political Parties.

Respected Sir,
As perhaps being the only MLA candidate in the current Telangana Assembly Elections who is interested in making sure the people’s constitutional rights aren’t being violated, it fell upon me to bring this very important matter to your kind attention.

I refer you to multiple News Paper articles from November 14th 2018 in AndhraJyothy and Oct 23rd 2018 in Deccan Chronicle. Articles attached below along with this letter. I’m also able to recall the former Home Minister mention about this in a news channel, where the lists of beneficiaries of Government schemes were being handed by the Political Parties to their MLA candidates in efforts to coerce the voters into voting for them.

I see 2 issues with this kind of election campaigning…
1, Violation of Constitutional Rights of Citizens: Article 21 of our Constitution protects the Citizens Right to Privacy and The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed this very notion yet again by declaring Individual’s Privacy as being his/her Fundamental Right.
By releasing beneficiary information (constituency-wise & scheme-wise) to campaign staffers, the privacy of voters is being exposed for potential maleficence by bad actors and should also count towards irresponsible handling of people’s private information by the responsible government authorities.

2, Violation of the Election Code: The Election Code you have released is now in effect and it clearly states that intimidation of voters is strictly prohibited. Even if such information can be considered public information, we simply can’t ignore the implications of public dissemination of private information within the context of Assembly elections. Coercion and intimidation of voters is a clear violation of the election code. In the sameway how the candidates can’t promise freebies, it’s also a violation to intimidate and inevitably scaring voters into submission under the threat of potential loss of benefits if they do not vote for a particular party candidates.
Such an incredulous expectation of a quid pro quo between a privileged politician and gullible voters threatens the very accountability of our democracy.

In the process of conducting one democratic function we can’t violate the fundamental rights of our Citizens. Such acts of egregious contempt towards our Constitution and the Election code and their obvious violations should be addressed with utmost urgency. I request your kind attention to immediately stop the parties from using beneficiary lists in their campaigns.

Yours Sincerely,
Pesarikayala Pareekshith Reddy
Gajwel MLA Candidate - Independent

Article in AndhraJyothy from November 14th 2018 that highlights Party Strategy...
Click here to Read the Article...