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Bar candidates with criminal records, says EC

August 06, 2008 09:57 IST

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Strongly pitching for barring candidates with criminal records from contesting elections in the country, India's Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi has said the government should enact a law in this regard.

"We want candidates with criminal records to be barred from contesting elections. For that the government has to pass a law which has not been done yet. There is a need to do a lot more to see (that) criminals are barred from elections," he said, while delivering a lecture at the Nehru Centre in London [Images].

The Commission, he said, also wanted a ban on exit or opinion poll as they could be manipulated and may have "unfair" influence on the outcome of the elections.

Asked whether the criminalisation of politics was on the increase, Qureshi said, "I feel, it is on the decrease because of certain measures taken by the Commission like compulsory filling of affidavits by candidates about their pasts."

He said in the Assembly elections last year about one hundred candidates with criminal records were elected as against 210 such people in the previous year.

   Also Read: A criminal can;t get a job, but he can be a CM 

In a bid to eliminate bogus voting, the Election Commission will introduce electoral rolls with voters' photographs in the next general elections, Qureshi said while speaking on "Democracy and Elections in India".

"In the next general election, the electoral rolls itself will have photographs of voters. Hopefully, it will work to eliminate bogus voters."  The photographs on rolls will be in addition to the voters' photo identity cards.

Qureshi said, the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies will be completed by August 31." Then we will be ready for general election, due before May next."

Replying to queries, Qureshi said "the time was not ripe for making voting compulsory in India."

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