Deccan Chronicle
DC Correspondent

It is ‘dangerous’ to malign politicians as being responsible for corruption in the country, Chief election commissioner S. Y. Quraishi said and stressed that India cannot win the race to become the superpower without the involvement of the political leadership.

“One should not generalise that all politicians are bad. It is not a wise thing. One should not paint every politician with black. There are also good politicians. In a democratic set up we need politicians,” he said speaking at the 7th national conference on electoral and political reforms being held under the joint auspices of National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms here on Saturday.

Favouring a ban on opinion polls before elections as they affected poll prospects of political parties, he said “though exit polls had been banned, opinion polls are still allowed and political parties are affected by it.” He said the opinion polls conducted before elections were becoming a major problem which could even lead to “paid opinion polls.” “In the circumstances, when news can be paid, even opinion polls can be paid,” the CEC added.

Mr Quraishi also underscored the need for a positive campaign to eliminate voters’ apathy against participating in the democratic exercise. “Those sitting in drawing rooms have no right to criticise politicians if they don’t go to vote,” he said. The EC had proposed 60 per cent increase in the ceiling of Rs 10 lakh for the candidates’ spending in an Assembly constituency and Rs 25 lakh in the parliament constituency, but feared if even that would completely rid the Indian elections of money power. Later, speaking to reporters he expressed a word of praise for Tamil Nadu for completing 99 percent of coverage in terms of EPIC cards.

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