Paid news practice to be considered as corruption:CEC

Such practices were unethical and amounted to deceiving the people. The move would enable the EC to have a bearing on the election petitions filed by candidates', Quraishi told reporters after a meeting with top officials of state on the preparedness for the assembly elections due early next year.

'We are also examining the possibility of criminal proceedings against candidates indulging in such practice', Quraishi said responding to a question.

So far 86 cases of paid news have been identified, he said adding the power of EC was confined to candidates only and not on media. 'We are examining what action could be initiated on this', he said.

District level monitoring committees would be constituted to keep an eye on candidates trying to influence media, he said.

Stating that money power has become a very serious problem in Indian democracy, Quraishi said Expenditure monitoring committees would strictly watch the expenses of candidates.

All candidates would have to open a special bank account for election expenses, he said.
The new election expenditure monitoring mechanism adopted by EC during the recent Bihar polls was a success and would be emulated in future polls, he said.

Monitoring would be done in cooperation with officials of Revenue Intelligence and Income Tax Department, he said.

On the modifications and improvements to be carried out on Electronic Voting Machines, he said EC would consider the EC's Technical Committee recommendations on the matter.
All political parties in the country only wanted improvement on the present EVMs and nobody wanted to go back to the old system of ballot boxes, he said.

EC would have to look into all aspects of recommendations before deciding whether modified EVMs should be used in the next assembly polls due in five states, he said.

On the election preparedness in the state, he said arrangments were on track. At present electoral roll revision process was progressing in a satisfactory manner. The focus of EC was to enroll all youths as voters, he said.

The photo identity cards of new young voters would be given at a special function to be held next month, he added.

Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla and Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto were also present at the press meet.

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