Criticising the poor voter turnout in the financial capital,Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said on Tuesday that Mumbai is becoming symbolic of voter apathy in the country and that citizens have no right to complain about poor services till they exercise their right to vote.
One of the biggest challenges to fair elections is voter apathy and Mumbai is the best example of that. Here you see higher turnout only in sensitive areas. One cannot keep complaining about inadequate services if you do not want to cast your vote and elect good people to power, Quraishi told a discussion organized by citizens groups about the need for electoral reforms in India.
However,Quraishi admitted that large parts of electoral rolls are inflated. In a recent countrywide exercise,we found 54 lakh deceased people whose names had to be deleted from the list. Apart from skewing the voter turnout percentages,it also greatly increases instances of bogus voting, he said.
Quraishi also touched upon practical difficulties faced by the election commission,such as criminals contesting elections. Since 1998,the CEC has been asking the Parliament to debar criminals who have serious charges against them from contesting elections. Similarly,we have stepped up our efforts to stop the flow of black money during elections and managed to stop money laundering to quite an extent, he said.
Replying to queries about increasing number of political parties contesting elections,he said that CEC has been asking for the power to deregister political parties. He added that the CEC had recently achieved a breakthrough with the help of an institute of chartered accountants that had created a module for auditing funds spent by a political party during elections.
We hope to introduce more transparency in political transactions. We are insisting that all transactions be done only through cheques, he said.