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Restrict the number of parties: CEC
August 29, 2007 23:48 IST
Political parties have increased manifold in the country due to the income tax exemptions given to them and there is a need to reduce their number, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy said here on Wednesday.
"We should have the powers to eliminate political parties," he said, delivering a lecture on 'Conducting Elections - Experience in Uttar Pradesh and Other Recent Elections' in Bangalore.
He said "the number of political parties increased manifold after 2003 because of the tax exemptions".
In 1950-51, there were 17 national parties, which increased to 700 (including national and state) and the number was brought to around 500 in 2001-02, he said.
The number came down from 700 to 500 because 200 of them were found non-functional, he said.
Today the number of political parties stood at 910, out of which only six are national parties, he said.
To ensure free-and-fair elections, the number of parties should be restricted. Besides, criminilisation and politicisation of bureaucracy should end, he said. At present, there is no mechanism to check the money actually spent by a candidate, he said.
"The Election Commission has no control over the nocturnal visits by the candidate for distribution of money or liquor," he said.
On photo identity cards, he said the Commission has recommended that it should be a "multi-purpose card" to sustain the interest of people in preserving it.
Expressing satisfaction over the conduct of elections in Uttar Pradesh early this year, Gopalaswamy said as against 98 cases of killings in the previous elections, there was not a single death reported this year.
There were 95 cases of repoll in 2002. However, in this year's election there were only 13 repolls, 12 out of which were because of failure of EVMs and one due to interference.
"From security at polling stations in Bihar, we moved to the hinterlands in UP," Gopalaswamy said.
Electoral rolls of 2004-06 were compared with the latest ones, and whichever showed an increase, polling officers visited the concerned areas to find out whether the increase was justified.
Even the male-female ratio was taken and polling stations, which showed abnormality were screened, he said.