New Delhi: Right to recall elected representatives and fixing retirement age for them are “not practical solutions” to address issues related to performance of politicians, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi said in New Delhi today.
Addressing a function in New Delhi, the CEC spoke in favour of reforms like auditing the accounts of political parties and ensuring that donations given to them are subject to checks but claimed there was resistance from political parties on these issues.
He said the biggest challenge for the Indian democracy is criminalisation of politics and black money.
“Criminals in politics and use of black money during elections are an embarrassment. Due to these two factors India is not able to become the greatest democracy in the world,” he said.
“Two basic reforms for the political parties I think would be that their transactions be made by cheque and their accounts should be audit by independent accountants appointed by the Election Commission of India,” Quraishi said.
He said that a discussion is needed to arrive at a conclusion on these issues as there is resistance from political parties on them.
On right to recall, he said, “It sounds good, but it not a practical idea. There are so many disgruntled people who can manipulate it. We all know how easy it to collect signatures against a particular candidate.”
Quraishi said that the idea is not feasible as, “Political parties are facing elections after an interval of every two or so years. For example, Samajwadi Party would be gearing up to face the voters for Lok Sabha election in 2014 again, which is much before its five year term.”
On fixing a retirement age for politicians, he said, “I think it is a little cynical attempt as only 10 to 12 percent of youths use their votes. It has become fashionable to condemn politicians. You can not hate politicians and love democracy.”
Replying to a question whether the result of the recently concluded elections in Uttar Pradesh were unexpected, the CEC said, “People voted for the promises made by a young man Akhilesh Yadav. I think he is a well meaning young man.”
Observing that regional parties will be playing an important role in the future, he lashed out at the “bogus” parties and said, “We have been asking the government to give us the power to de-register such bogus parties.”
He suggested proxy voting for the military and paramilitary soldiers.
“We have pursued this matter with the defence ministry but a decision is still pending on it,” Quraishi said.
Quraishi said the idea of state funding is not good as it will be “very difficult” to keep a tab over the black money circulating in the election process.
“It will become very difficult to ensure that the parties and candidates do not use more than the fund given by the exchequer. Moreover, few years down the line there could be allegations of corruption as well,” he said.