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Debar criminals from contesting polls, says CEC

CEC SY Quraishi said the government was not acting on the poll panel`s proposal to debar criminals from electoral fray.



Mumbai: Maintaining that India was the
biggest but not the greatest democracy due to presence of
criminals in politics, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi today said the government was not acting on the poll
panel`s proposal to debar criminals from electoral fray.

"Our proposal is pending with the government since
1998...for the past 14 years. We have been chasing them
(govt), reminding them (about criminals in politics) but to no
avail," he said at a lecture on "Democracy at Crossroads -
Need for Electoral Reforms" here this evening.

"The second problem bothering us is the use of money
power, particularly black money, in elections," he said adding
"our belief is that for every Rs 1 crore we seized during
polls, we must have stopped at least Rs 20 crore (from
circulation), the CEC maintained.
Disfavouring state funding of polls, Quraishi said "I
don`t know how state funding of polls will take care of
electoral malpractices and corruption."

Voter apathy was another area of concern, he said. "When
we don`t go out to vote, we don`t have any right to criticise
political parties."

Expressing "one hundred per cent confidence" in the
electronic voting machines, Quraishi said the poll panel will
also look into a pilot project in two months for having a
printout along with EVMs.

On a lighter note, Quraishi said he personally felt
sops like free TV and laptops to lure voters were a good
thing. "But this is my personal opinion.
The much-feted CEC was also supportive of the "none
of the above" option during voting process. "we want the
button which says "none of the above".

PTI

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