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Negligible progress on poll reforms, RTI plea reveals

Thursday June 21, 2012 07:17:15 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Attempts to push for poll reforms are yet to yield the desired results despite an appeal by the Election Commission to the government, a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by an activist has revealed.

A response from the prime minister's office (PMO) to an RTI query indicated that little had been done on barring candidates with criminal records from contesting elections, ensuring financial transparency and making public the audited accounts of candidates' election expenses.

The RTI application, filed by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, was related to the April 13 letter that then chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to implement the delayed poll reforms.

Agrawal said Thursday that the government's response showed that the political leadership was not serious about pushing poll reforms.

The PMO reply to Quraishi's letter said: "With a view to comprehensive electoral reforms, a core committee was constituted on Oct 1, 2010. Seven regional consultations have been held and an all-party dialogue is under consideration. On the basis of the inputs received in these consultations, legislative process, as may be considered necessary, will be initiated by the government in due course."

"The electoral scenario of the country has been continuously changing, it has necessitated reforms of electoral law on several occasions. The electoral reforms is a continuous and the on-going process can be carried out through consensus amongst the political parties," it said.

"Political leaders can never be serious about change in the election system because in its present form it is tailor-made to suit the wrong persons reaching the legislature. Effective poll-reforms and strict rules for those in legislature are of prime importance than the much-talked about Lokpal bill," said Agrawal.

Quraishi also stressed on providing protection to all the three election commissioners to insulate them from any kind of pressure.






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