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Monday, 12 December 2011

Poll reforms needed to debar criminals, Anna’s suggestions impractical: Quraishi

Shimla:Despite underlining the need for electoral reforms, particularly to prevent candidates with criminal records from contesting polls, Chief Election Commissioner of India S Y Quraishi on Monday said anti-graft campaigner Anna Hazare’s suggestion to include a ‘ right to reject’ voting provision was not feasible or practical. “If all voters exercise their voting rights judiciously the need of implementation of this provision will not arise,” Quraishi said.

Delivering the convocation address at the Himachal Pradesh university here, the chief election officer said there were lakhs of people lodged in jails and facing trials. “If their liberties have been curtailed, then why should not people having tainted and criminal backgrounds be restrained from entering politics. After all, the right to contest polls is not a fundamental right like the right to vote,” he said.

Quraishi was of the view that if the people which criminal backgrounds are not allowed to contest elections, it would not in any manner infringe their rights. We need to have election reforms to debar such persons from entering the politics, he added.

The election body chief referred to the honorary degree that was awarded to Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla and said: “ I feel the Himachal Pradesh university has done a wonderful job in conferring you (Shukla) this honour so that you play an important role in pushing for electoral reforms”.

Quraishi further said that efforts were being made to ensure more transparency during elections and provide more rights to voters. In his convocation address, the chief election commissioner said the election body had opened a special cell to prevent black money from being used in the polls. “The use of black money could only be stopped if people also participate and help out the Commission in keeping a watch,’’ he said.

Around 141 Phds and 114 medals were conferred on meritorious achievers during the convocation. Mritunjaya Sharma was conferred D Lit in music. Phd degrees (Honoris Causa) were also conferred upon Rajeev Shukla, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Padamshree Pratapsingh Ganpat Rao Jadhan, Alkshendra Singh in Social Sciences and Mahesh Verma for Dental Sciences.

Governor and Chancellor of the University, Urmila Singh also spoke on the occasion. She expressed happiness that women were outnumbering the men in different achievements and said that it was a positive sign of women empowerment.


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