NEW DELHI: Party-driven electoral system has fomented social ills like corruption, casteism and violence in the country, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare today alleged even as he strongly pitched for removal of party symbols in polling exercises.
Addressing a gathering at a seminar here, the 80-year-old veteran social activist, also said, "Various parties have vitiated the atmosphere in colleges and universities by opening their wings, and led the youth astray." According to the Constitution any person above a certain age can fight elections and it does not talk of any party or party symbol, he said.
"So, we must do away with it, only then the democracy will come in the truest sense. And, a candidate's name and face is enough," Hazare added.
"And, it is this party-driven electoral system that has fomented corruption, casteism violence and other social evils.
And, a race for electoral supremacy started since the 1952 general elections," he said.
Dressed in his trademark starched white dhoti-kurta and Gandhi topi, the Maharashtra-born activist, said he was contemplating undertaking a journey from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to "awaken the masses to exert pressure on the Election Commission to jettison the party symbol system".
Hazare is also set to hold an agitation in the national capital on March 23 on Lokpal and other issues.
"If there was no political party system in the county, the problems of large-scale corruption, and deeply-entrenched casteism would not have arisen, the way it has today. Parties have given tickets to criminals and individuals, who were of bad character, to get into power, and that is how tainted people have entered into the ruling system.
"The parties have also opened wings in various colleges and universities, thereby vitiating the atmosphere of their campuses by instigating discord. Youth power, which should have been channelised in the making of the nations, have been led astray by the parties," Hazare said.
The native of Ralegan Siddhi said people can reach out by giving "a missed call on a number -- 8879069688 -- to connect with me, and further to my Facebook account and send queries to my email".