Former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi on Saturday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being “vocal on electoral reforms” in the country and accused the previous governments of avoiding the issue. Speaking at a conference in the capital on ‘Electoral Reforms in India’, Quraishi said he was happy that “for the first time”, the prime minister of the country was talking about poll reforms.
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“Unlike the previous governments which avoided taking any measure on poll reforms, Prime Minister Modi is being specific and several of his measures are leading towards reforms,” he said. The former CEC also pitched for debarring criminals from contesting elections, controlling money power and a collegium system to appoint election commissioners to ensure free-and-fair polls.
Asserting that the money circulated during elections was the “mother of all corruptions”, Quraishi said, “Public funding of political parties should be encouraged and private funding must be banned apart from decriminalising politics.” Commenting on the current system of appointing election commissioners, he said though the CEC had an “institutional safeguard”, the other two members of the commission felt like they were “on probation”.
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“A collegium system should be implemented for the success of India’s democracy. Despite the shortcomings in the system, all the ECs have worked towards ensuring fair elections so far,” Quraishi said. Commenting on the situation prevailing in the five poll-bound states, the former CEC said it was like any other election where “there will be attacks, counter-attacks and violation of the Model Code of Conduct”.
“The EC is equipped to deal with the situation,” he added. The Centre, earlier this month, dropped hints about its plans to bring in changes in poll-funding rules and hold simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and the state assemblies.
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