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6th National conference on Electoral and Political reforms in Bhopal

Madhya Pradesh, April 10 and 11, 2010,

On the first day of the sixth national conference on Electoral and Political Reforms being organized by Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, Mr Navin Chawla, Chief Election Commissioner, released a book “Lok Sabha 2009 Election Watch: A compendium of state election watch reports”. The book contains analysis on criminal and financial details of candidates and winners of Lok Sabha 2009 Elections for all states and UT‘s of India.

The delegates to this conference include civil society organizations, eminent citizens, media, senior bureaucrats and Police officials, leaders from the corporate sector and the political parties.

Speaking at the conference Mr Chawla said, “The EC should be given power to de‐ register political parties especially those which do not even contest elections.” He also expressed deep concern about increasing instances of paid news which needed to be addressed urgently.

Speaking on the importance of the political party reforms, Mr. Manickam Tagore, MP INC said, “All political parties remain closed for new entrants, unless they have some connections. This closed nature of the parties needs to be changed and the gates should be opened to meritorious youth”.

On the importance of electoral reforms Mr. Kirit Somaiya, National Secretary BJP said, “Electoral and political reforms are crucial for the progress of the country. Paid news is a menace on which action should be quickly taken so that the spirit of democracy is kept alive”.

Mr Anil Madhav Dave, MP, BJP strongly appealed that, “Vidhan sabha and Lok sabha elections should be held jointly so that constant elections don’t become hindrance to development”.

On the second day, Representatives of Congress and BJP discussed issues like inner party democracy and funding transparency, on the concluding day of the sixth national conference on Electoral and Political Reforms organized by Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch. Vinay Sahasrbuddhe, Member of BJP Executive Council said that political parties should also subject some regulation and be asked to furnish annual reports of activities and accounts. He also added that politicians should undergo professional training to become effective legislators. Mr. K.K.Mishra, Congress spokesperson from Madhya Pradesh, expressed concern about the increased role of money power and criminals in elections.

The conference also discussed the role of media in elections, and the increased danger of the phenomenon of “paid news” in election campaigns. Mr. L. C. Jain, former member of Planning Commission said that edifice of India’s democracy cannot be built without strong foundations of integrity in politics.

The conference concluded with resolutions demanding no criminal candidates, an option for “none of the above” on the voting machine and political party reforms.

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