EC to roll out guidelines to control money in politics

Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, who would assume charge as the new Chief Election Commissioner tomorrow, said the Government has indicated expediting some of the electoral reforms pending with it.

"The draft of the guidelines is ready. By end of August they will be in place," Quraishi told PTI in an interview.

Expressing concern over black money playing a big role in elections, he said "We need to tighten it. Now we have developed detailed guidelines in consultation with the best and most experienced officials."

Referring to mushrooming of political parties, he said currently there are 1100 odd parties out of which seven are national parties and 40 are regional parties. Among the rest many appear to have doubtful credentials, Quraishi said.

"We have 1100 parties at the moment. Every half an hour a new party gets registered except for seven national parties and 40 regional parties. 900 to 1000 parties are just in name only," he said, adding the Election Commission should have power to deregister non-serious parties.

A random examination by the EC showed that office of one such party was in a tea shop while another spent Rs two to Rs three crore on jewellery and shares while a third party's office was non-existent, Quraishi said.

"We have been assured by the Law Minister to expeditiously look into the electoral reforms proposals, some of which do not require legislations," he said, adding the reforms process has started rolling.

On the disqualification of candidates with criminal background, Quraishi said that there were two opinions on the issue.

A section of political parties feel that this would be misused by certain people by filing false cases against the candidates. Other argument is that a conviction in a court takes a long time, he said.

The Election Commission had proposed disqualification of those candidates accused of heinous crimes that could lead to punishment of five years or more.

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