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Consensus needed among parties to not field candidates with criminal background

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Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao AV

Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday said there should be consensus among political parties that persons with criminal background would not be given tickets to fight polls.

He also said that often the criminal record of a candidate is ignored due to the “winning capability” of the person.

Rao was speaking at the inaugural session of an international conference here titled “Better Elections for Healthier Democracy” to celebrate 25 years of the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution of India.

“Political parties should form a consensus so that tickets are not given to people with criminal background. Political parties should not just see the winning capability of the candidates but also consider that the candidate has a clean image and does not have a criminal background,” Rao said.

He said state Election Commissions should be treated on par with the Election Commission of India as the former play a significant role in conducting polls for local bodies, thereby strengthening grassroots democracy.

Citing an example, he said that the Maharashtra state Election Commission had a mammoth task considering the fact that it conducts elections for 2,50,000 representatives every five years for approximately 28,000 local bodies.

He added that the population of Maharashtra was higher than that of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together.

Stating that India was emerging as a youthful nation, Rao recommended starting “Democracy Clubs” in schools and colleges to engage students with democracy and the poll process.

He also called upon the state Election Commissions to deliberate on making the electoral process more inclusive for persons with disabilities as well as for officials who are unable to cast their vote on account of national duty.

The Maharashtra State Election Commission should create a digital platform to share experiences and success stories related to the conduct of polls.

This, he said, would help in adoption of best practices.

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