Swaraj India welcomes recent initiatives by Election Commission to reform the use of election symbols by big political parties. The latest decision by the EC to replace election symbols with photographs of candidates is a step in the right direction.
It would bring greater focus on the role of candidates in elections and marginally reduce the uneven playing ground that currently works to the advantage of big parties. We hope that the EC will find ways to address practical difficulties that might arise for the illiterate voters.
We would urge the Commission to follow such measures with substantial measures to redress uneven playing field in terms of resources available to different parties. This would require radical changes to put a limit to all forms of expenditure by candidates and their parties, curb the role of black money, check the widespread practice of voter bribing and gross inequality in media visibility by way of advertisements and paid news.
These reforms have been dodged and blocked by the political establishment. If the EC does not take proactive steps to address these big issues, its announcements on other issue run the risk of being seen as mere tokenism.