HYDERABAD: Stressing on the need to de-criminalise the election process, Dr Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, said here on Saturday that any attempt to conceal information in the affidavit by a political candidate should attract an imprisonment of two years.
Addressing the 12th annual national conference on Electoral and Political Reforms, Zaidi said that voters have the right to know their candidates. “The voters have the right to know their candidate. So, any attempt to conceal information deliberately should be taken seriously and awarded two years jail term. Also, the courts should deliver verdict within a year so that there is no chance for a wrong candidate to assume office,” he opined.
Expressing his objection to candidates contesting elections from jail, Zaidi said there is a need to re-look the case. “The judgment given by the SC that a candidate can contest elections while languishing in police custody is a backward step. There is a need for experts to look into this point to make elections clean,” he said.
The CEC observed that none of the above (NOTA) option in elections should be studied by experts and see whether it serves good to people. He stated there are 40 reform proposals pending before the law commission and said that these reforms need to be implemented.
Answering a query on corruptions in MLC elections, Zaidi said corruption has touched new heights with advent of technology. “People are finding new ways to give ‘gifts’ to MLC and others, and it is becoming even harder to catch the culprits as the gifts are directly delivered to their home. It would be better if we can have an open ballot system for MLC elections so that corruption can be curbed,” he observed.
When asked why all the information with election commission is in an un-downloadable PDF format, the CEC assured that changes will be made soon. “Within the next couple of months, we are going to get a new software and we will make sure that all the information on the site is accessible to the general public. The site will be revamped and changes will be visible within 2 months,” said Zaidi.
The CEC revealed that the EC has a database of over 85 crores voters with them and that they will be cleansing the voter rolls to identify duplicate profiles. He said that the election commission is planning to send candidates information to the voters via SMS so as to help voters choose the right candidates.