New CEC vows to curb money power in poll

No second thought on use of EVMs

Briefing reporters after assuming office as the 17th Chief Election Commissioner, he said by the end of August the commission  would come out with  detailed guidelines for curbing the use of money in polls.

“We have held a series of discussions among expenditure observers to find out the areas it could focus on to strengthen checks and controls to prevent the misuse of money power,” he said.

The 63-year-old 1971 batch IAS officer wants to enhance the participation of the voters. The forthcoming assembly elections in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Assam will be conducted during his tenure.

To a question on the use of EVMs in the backdrop of the experience in Andhra Pradesh bypolls where manual voting took place in five constituencies, he said the commission was constantly working towards making the machines absolutely foolproof.

“There seems to be no reason,” to give a second thought on the use of EVMs.
Quraishi succeeds Navin Chawla who retired on Thursday. The CEC also said the panel would strive to conduct free and fair elections wherever and whenever required.

Replying to a question on the government’s move to give voting rights to NRIs, Quraishi said though the EC favoured it, there were several logistical issues such as who could be given voting rights and whether voting could be carried out through postal ballot needed to be worked out.

He said the EC and the Overseas Ministry had a few meetings in this regard.
Expressing concern over the growing syndrome of paid news, he said the commission had issued tougher guidelines to prevent this phenomenon.

Asked about the issue of biometric cards in elections, he said the commission has still not come to a conclusion on the best alternative. At some point of time, the system will be used for electoral rolls. “We are studying it. It is a good idea.”

He said 85 per cent of the 714 million voters have already been provided with voter identity cards and “when we issue more cards the unique identification numbers will be superimposed along with EC card numbers.”

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