Ahmedabad: A western region consultation on electoral and political reforms was organized by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch (GEW) in Ahmedabad, where experts discussed several issues, including electoral malpractices, simultaneous elections, electoral bonds and urban and local governance.

Prof Jagdeep Chhokar, founder trustee of ADR, said the election mechanism has to be strengthened to prevent ground-level malpractices and to punish those interfering with the process. He added that the proposal for simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies is against the federal nature of the Constitution.

Former Gujarat CM Suresh Mehta in his talk said the primary reason for malpractices is the lack of manpower with the Election Commission of India (ECI). “Changes in Income Tax Act, the Representation of People’s Act 1951 and the Companies Act 2013 have had retrograde implications for transparency on electoral funds,” said Dr Rohit Shukla, president of Drushti Foundation.

On the occasion, ADR and GEW released their analysis of the sitting MLAs of the Gujarat legislative assembly.

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