25 October, 2020

Stamp 'em Out

In a remarkable first, voters boot out an elected functionary

Saurabh Singh
Stamp 'em Out
It had all the trappings of a regular election—campaigns, public meetings, polling booths, charges of bogus voting et al. But what set apart the election in Anuppur, a one-horse town in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh, was the fact that there was only one candidate and two very eloquent symbols. One was a vacant chair and the other a chair with a woman seated on it. And the historical vote went overwhelmingly in favour of the unoccupied chair.

For the first time in India, people dismissed an elected functionary from office, marking the first exercise of the "Right to Recall" conferred by the state government. In the polling held on April 9, Pallavika Patel, 45, president of the nagar panchayat of Anuppur, was deposed by voters. "This will strengthen democracy. It'll make the people's representatives more accountable and sincere," was the reaction of CM Digvijay Singh whose Congress party Patel belongs to. "It's welcome, no matter who the loser is," echoes leader of the Opposition Gauri Shankar Shejwar of the bjp, adding that the bill was passed with a majority vote in...


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