Change in voting system: Parliamentary panel seeks parties’ views

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Congress leader Anand Sharma who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice has referred to all parties and the Election Commission a six-page “Questionnaire on Electoral Reforms” on worries that the first-past-the-post (FPTP) is not the best-suited system as apparent from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election results.

The all-party Parliamentary panel has called for a first planned debate on the issue and ways to explore other methods of election, apart from the FPTP system that is presently used in the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, according to a report in The Indian Express.

FPTP voting system is the one in which voters specify on secret election ballot the candidate of their choice and the candidate who gets the most votes wins. It is the most widely practiced method in close to one-third of the world’s countries. Canada, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the prominent countries which use the FPTP system.

The other method of elections are list system (open list and closed system), proportional representation, ranked or preferential voting and mixed systems. The proportional representation is used for the election of President in India.

There is a growing worry that the FPTP system is not best-suited system as can be seen from the recently-concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The results showed that a party getting 39 percent vote share won 312 seats and parties getting 22 percent and 21 percent got only 47 and 19 seats respectively — without naming the BJP, SP and BSP, the reference to the individual party’s shares and the seats won in the state elections is clear.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties are yet to reply for the same, whereas the main opposition parties like the Congress, BSP, CPI(M), NCP, CPI and Lok Janshakti Party have responded for the same.