New Delhi: With the Mayawati government having announced holding of high school and state board examinations between January and April next year, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi has said that the panel can get the examinations in Uttar Pradesh postponed if it affects the Assembly poll schedule in the state.
In an interview to a TV news channel, Quraishi on Wednesday hoped that the proposed Lokpal bill will help in tackling corruption, but cautioned against hating politicians and tarring all legislators with the same brush.
Asked by the news channel if he was concerned over the examination schedule, Quraishi said: "I don`t know whether we are cornered or not. It squeezes our poll schedule a bit. But we have the option of postponing the UP Board exams."
On Dec 15, the Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (state secondary education board) announced dates of high school and intermediate examinations between January-end and beginning of April.
The announcement to hold board examination in March can put extra pressure on the Election Commission, which is trying to complete the electoral work by the end of February.
Holding the board exams in March, say observers, may force the Election Commission to postpone elections till April, which could give more time to the Mayawati government to prepare for the elections.
Quaraishi also hoped that the elections will go smoothly in the state.
"UP is a tough state. It has its own problems. In the last two elections there were no problems. UP will live up to its standards this time," Quraishi said.
"Our concern is every person votes. We had already done vulnerability mapping, meaning finding out troubled areas. No one can bully a voter," he replied when asked about the caste factor in the state`s politics.
In candid remarks, Quraishi said "there is deep-rooted corruption," and hoped poll reforms will help. "People are fed up. What is the remedy? Poll reforms will cleanse the system. Elections are a source of corruption," he said when asked about the campaign led by activist Anna Hazare against corruption.
"An MP spends up to 10 crores to get elected, but on paper he says he spent only 8 to 10 lakhs. They want to recover the money they spent, we have to break this. If we don`t act now I see bad times ahead," he said.
"Anything weakening the democratic institutions is very dangerous. We have a great Parliamentary system but aberrations are true," he replied when asked whether the Lokpal will put an end to corruption?
"People with serious charges are in legislature is a reality. Black money is a reality. We need to deal with reality. If we don`t, bad times are ahead," he said. He, however, cautioned that "painting all legislators black also is dangerous."
"You can`t love democracy and hate politicians, without politicians there is no democracy," he said.