New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the paid news menace, the Election Commission is mulling with the idea of liberalising it tough rules and regulations that could help candidates approach the people directly.
"Many political parties have been suggesting that to check money power and paid news, there is a need to liberalise the conventional means of communication," Chief Election
Commissioner S Y Quraishi said.
The grievance of political parties, he said, was that even ten days into the elections, people were not aware of who the candidates are as the media "blacks them out for obvious reasons". In order to ensure that the candidates are known to the electorate, the Commission is seriously considering steps which can be taken to address the situation, Quraishi said.
The CEC`s remarks assume significance as they came after an all-party meeting convened by the poll body on money power and paid news in which leaders suggested that the
Commission device a mechanism to curb the practice of paid news, criminalisation of politics along with use of muscle and money power in elections.
Quraishi said the meeting saw political parties unanimously endorsing the EC`s initiatives to deal with the problems. He said the Commission appealed to political parties
to cooperate and not violate the rules on expenditure. The EC also told political parties that it would come down heavily on parties violating rules.
The CEC said the Commission would soon take a view on how best to go about in relaxing the norms that could facilitate candidates in the fray to reach out to the people.
If the rules are made more flexible, poll campaigning would no longer be a drab and lacklustre affair without any banners and buntings in view of the curbs imposed on
candidates and political parties for over a decade.