Poll expenses should be indexed to inflation: Hooda
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Last Updated: Saturday, February 05, 2011, 18:44
Chandigarh: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today suggested that poll expenses should be indexed to inflation and the model code of conduct should be reviewed so that development works are not hampered. Speaking at a regional consultation meet on electoral reforms, initiated by Union Law Ministry and the Election Commission, Hooda advocated shortening of the canvassing period and imposing a complete ban on surrogate advertisements as well as publication of exit and opinion polls before the last phase of elections.

He also favoured inclusion of "None Of The Candidates" option for the voters apart from the list of contestants. However, votes cast for "None Of The Candidates" should not have any impact on the election result, the Chief Minister said.

He said problems of illiteracy, lack of awareness and increasing apathy, especially among urban voters, have emerged as challenges for the conduct of elections.

Referring to the role of money and muscle power in elections, Hooda said, "The mounting cost of contesting elections is at the very root of political corruption. It is also linked to the increasing trend of criminalisation of electoral process. We need to minimise... the influence of money and muscle power in elections."

He said that expenditure limits should be reviewed periodically and ceiling be fixed according to inflation.

"State should support financing of elections only in terms of services and infrastructure arrangements, and not through direct funding," he added.

Parties and candidates should submit details of the funds collected from different institutions and individuals. Funds collected be properly accounted for and should not be disproportionate to the fixed ceiling.

Persons and institutions, once blacklisted, should not be allowed to donate for such activities for a limited period.

He favoured discouraging non-serious candidates from contesting elections by increasing the security deposit.

On the "Model Code of Conduct", Hooda claimed that placing restrictions on advertisements issued by the government six months before the election "would have a negative impact, and hamper development works". He also questioned the efficacy of the rule restricting transfer of officials.


First Published: Saturday, February 05, 2011, 18:44

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