No disqualification till conviction, says Maya
Express News Service Posted online: Mon Jan 31 2011, 09:14 hrs
Lucknow : Disagreeing with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S Y
Quraishi's suggestion that a person against whom charges have been
framed for an offence, which is punishable with imprisonment for five
or more years, should not be allowed to contest elections, Chief
Minister Mayawati said that such a provision could be misused, and
argued for disqualification from contesting election only after
conviction by court. She favoured a law to stop criminalisation of
politics and wanted the law to have no scope for misuse.
Mayawati was speaking at the Regional Consultation for Electoral
Reforms, organised jointly by the Election Commission of India and
Union Law Ministry at the Dr B R Ambedkar Auditorium here. Quraishi
and Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily were also present. This was
the first time since Mayawati became the CM in 2007 that she spoke
from a non-BSP platform.
The CEC expressed concern over criminalisation of politics and
appreciated Mayawati for her reported decision to deny ticket to
criminals in elections.
Terming the ECI's decision to seek opinions for electoral reforms as a
commendable step, the CM said there is need to ban exit and opinion
polls which tended to influence the electorate. "The logic behind such
poll is that it is freedom of expression. But this is freedom of
misinformation," Mayawati said.
She underlined the need for reviewing the anti-defection law. "If any
MP or MLA joins another party, he should contest the election again,"
she said. Mayawati said the national president of a political party
should be empowered to recommend to the EC cancellation of membership
of MPs and MLAs who change party. After disqualification, the EC
should immediately hold elections in their constituencies.
Favouring the idea of the state funding elections, she said this would
help curb criminalisation of politics. However, the CEC described the
idea of state funding "dangerous".
The CEC highlighted various issues related to electoral reforms. He
said there should be a ban on transfer of employees six months before
and after elections in any state. He sought suggestions to develop a
protection system for officers who face victimisation after elections
despite their good work. He also underlined the need for empowering
the ECI to deregister political parties.
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