Critically analyze the need for amendment in the section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act (RPA), 1951 to restrict candidates from contesting on more than one seat.

The section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 allows for contestation from more than one seat in an election. If the candidate is successful in winning both the seats, he needs to vacate one of them.

Issues with this provision:

  • Unfair to electorates of both the constituencies.
  • Wastage of precious public exchequer money on re-elections, which could have been used in some developmental activity otherwise.
  • Inconvenience caused to electorate in recasting ballot.
  • Takes away local governance agenda, as it is aimed at electing a leader only and nothing more than that.
  • Double membership is not recognized and can be a ground for disqualification, hence increases the administrative burden.

Way ahead:

  • Need to amend RPA and restrict contestation from a single seat only.
  • Local governance agenda should be valued at constituency level.
  • Political parties should set right example by not fielding a candidate from multiple seats.

Civil society should pressurize the political parties to nominate popular leaders and not indulge in seat selling.

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