Maharashtra Government is awaiting Center’s response to its proposal for amendment to the Representation of the People Act, to ensure open ballot system in Legislative Council Elections, on the lines of Rajya Sabha polls. The state government wants open ballot for the legislative council polls. They however need the center’s nod to make this possible. The government is awaiting the amendment to the Act as it would facilitate open ballot for electing around 30 of the 78 seats in the Council. These seats are filled through direct election from amongst MLAs in the 289-member Assembly. Of the total 78 Council seats, 12 members are nominated by the Governor and others are candidates elected from segments like local bodies, graduates and teachers’ constituencies. Maharashtra is one of the six states in the country, having a bicameral Legislature. The State Legislature approved a proposal for doing away with secret ballot in Council polls and introduction of open ballot two years ago. When the resolution was approved and sent to the Centre, the state expected that Parliament would approve amendment to the Act after other states give their consent. Doing away with secret ballot and introducing open ballot system would result in ‘a political party having control over its MLAs as they would have to show ballot to the whip or representative. There have been several ‘informal’ follow-ups with the Union Law and Justice Ministry, on the resolution submitted by the state. The rationale behind the proposal to introduce open ballot was to curb the ‘use of money leading to cross-voting’ in the elections to the Council. The introduction of open voting would get the support of parties which have suffered due to cross-voting. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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