‘Reforms in poll panel needed for better functioning’

March 15th, 2011 - 1:02 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 14 (IANS) Admitting several limitations of the Election Commission (EC) in conducting polls across the country, former Chief Election Commissioners (CECs) Monday said reforms were needed for the panel’s efficient functioning even after elections were held.

“EC has very limited power and is dependant on state governments for conducting elections. And its code of conduct ends after declaring results. Therefore, post-poll violence becomes a regular phenomenon. If the EC had more power it would be able to monitor law and order situation during post-poll period,” said J.M. Lyngdoh, former CEC, at a seminar ‘Conduct of Free and Fair Election: Problems and Solutions’ here.

Lyngdoh, along with two former CECs T.S. Krishna Murthy and N. Gopalaswami attended the seminar, organised by Foundation for Advanced Management of Elections (FAME) in collaboration with a private management institute.

FAME comprising former CECs aims to provide a platform to facilitate democracy by generating awareness among voters. Lyngdoh heads the organisation with Krishna Murthy and Gopalaswami as vice-chairmen, and former advisor to the CEC K.J. Rao as general secretary.

“For free and fair elections, political parties should not support candidates with criminal background to contest elections. Muscle and money powers for elections should be under scanner and strong action should be taken against the guilty,” said Lyngdoh.

“Earlier, we have witnessed endless poll violence in state. Therefore the deployment of force should be extended even after one month to avoid any critical political violence. EC should get the power to keep a watch even after poll activities in the states,” said Gopalaswami.

Krishna Murthy said the EC needs immediate reform to make it more powerful.

“Political parties should be more conscious about their own political activities for conducting free and fare elections. The power of the EC should be enhanced for taking action against the accused political party or candidates,” he said.

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