All polticians cannot be painted black, cautions CEC

Blames voters' apathy for criminals getting into politics, proposes auditing of party funds


Deevakar Anand | April 27, 2011

Accepting that there is a considerable anger among people over corruption, Chief election commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi on Wednesday cautioned against painting all politicians in black. Speaking on an anti- corruption forum in the capital, he said, "We shouldn’t paint all politicians in black. We cannot imagine democracy without politicians. India becoming a super power is the result of wise political leadership."

Lamenting the voters, particularly the urban electorate for not coming out to vote in large numbers, he said, “You cannot leave everything to the election commission. There is complete voter apathy”. He said that electoral corruption is the mother of all corruption and rued that people don’t elect right representatives for themselves and later complain.

Quraishi, however, agreed that an ordinary and honest citizen cannot contest and win election because of widespread criminalisation and corruption in politics. Asked if a common man can think of contesting and winning an election, he said, “You don’t have the level playing ground with ‘goondaas’ who get ticket from the political parties. If you have money in lakhs and crores you have a chance. Or if you are a 'dada' (strongman), you have a chance. People talk against limiting poll expense. But otherwise no ordinary person gets a chance. If one party puts up a dada, the other will field a bigger dada, so it is a level-playing field only for those guys.”

Emphasising on the need to have a “workable and juristic” formulation for debarring people with corrupt background from entering into politics, he lauded the people of Tamil Nadu for approaching the election commission during the ongoing state polls with complaints of freebies and money being given to them. This helped the commission curb such occurrences.

The CEC ruled out the idea of state funding of elections as a viable alternative to tackling illegal spending during poll campaigns. “State funding will not guarantee a stop in use of black money or in distribution of sarees or dhotis, liquor parties or fake marriage parties during election time,” he pointed. Alternatively, he pushed for an auditing of all expenditures by the political parties. He said the commission will soon propose that political parties accept donations and spend only through cheques. "The audited accounts should be in public domain so that people could know which business houses are donating to a party and if they are getting any concessions in return later on,” he added.

Introducing right to recall, negative vote and better internal democracy among political parties were some of the other ideas that emanated out of the forum discussion.




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