Few months ago, after raising the toast on the success of Jan Lokpal Bill, Anna & Co. started demanding right to recall, electoral reform and voicing pro-death penalty. Since then Anna is in controversies over his comments on Sharad Pawar’s slap-issue, over his treatment with drunken people in his village and then his comments on women and pregnancy pain. Anna’s latest stint with fast at Mumbai was unsuccessful. All these news remind me that in my previous articles, I’d promised to write on Right to Recall and Dalits. So, here I am.
I don’t want to discuss the cost of election, re-election and re-election because I do have other concerns, concerns much more important than the cost of election or re-election, such as how Right to Recall will affect Dalits-Bahujans. (I also don’t buy the argument that India is a poor country, especially when there is a hell lot of corruption.) I also don’t want to discuss how cumbersome this process of Right to Recall would be i.e. practical difficulties. It would be almost impossible for such a populated country like India to implement Right to Recall. (In the countries, where Right to Recall is working require certain number of signatures (about 70%) of people from the area where people are demanding to recall and then verification is also required for the signatures, only after that re-election takes place. And we also have to keep in mind that those countries (such as Venezuela and few states of USA) where “Right to Recall” is working do have much less population.) But, let’s ignore all these difficulties for the sake of argument and concentrate on few other concerns.
Three states of India, i.e. Punjab, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh already do have provisions to recall leaders at the local level. “The Punjab Panchyati Raj Act” says,
…no-confidence against a Sarpanch be made to the Block Development and Panchayat Officer by a two-thirds majority of the total number of Panches of the Gram Sabha.
Punjab’s Dalits get a raw deal; and this is deepening caste fissures in the State. Problem arises in the villages when few upper caste panches files no-confidence motion against the Dalit Sarpanch due to caste prejudices or those upper caste panches don’t want to see Dalit ruling them or the village. Getting two-third majority for influential upper caste panches is not a big deal. As the result of caste politics and money at the village level Dalits suffer.