Poll expenses should be indexed to inflation: Hooda

Last Updated: Saturday, February 5, 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.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, February 5, 2011 - 18:44

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