Poll panel for hiking candidates’ expenses

Saturday, February 12, 2011

CHENNAI - The Election Commission of India has recommended an increase in the election expenses of candidates fighting the Lok Sabha and state assembly polls, a top official said Saturday.

Speaking to reporters here, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y Quraishi said the commission has recommended that the limit be hiked to Rs.40 lakh for Lok Sabha elections and Rs.16 lakh for assembly elections from the current limits of Rs.25 lakh and Rs.10 lakh, respectively.

He also said ration cards will be allowed as proof of identity for voting, while in Tamil Nadu, nearly 99 percent of the electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) have been issued.

According to Quraishi, the commission is considering the option of providing voters paper acknowledgment so that they know for whom they have voted, but added this measure may not be possible in the ensuing assembly polls.

A committee is looking into this issue and, based on its recommendations, a decision will be taken, he said.

Earlier addressing the 12th National Conference on Electoral and Political Reforms at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Quraishi said there is need to ban opinion polls as it confuses the voters.

When there can be paid news, there could also be paid opinion polls that would favour some political parties, he said.

Quraishi also said that the 48 hours prior to the polls should be considered as a “silent period” when even door-to-door canvassing should also be avoided.

During the interactive session, he told the audience that a ceiling on the election expenditure incurred by a political party is also being considered.

He also ruled out compulsory voting measure, contending it does not go well in a democracy.

Filed under: Politics

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