The Indian Express
New Delhi

Ajit Ranade, economist and founder president of Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), on Friday said the need of the hour is to stress on reforms in the functioning of political parties.

Delivering the 2nd late BG Deshmukh memorial lecture in the city on Friday, he said until major reforms are not brough about in the functioning of political parties, electoral reforms would be hard to achieve.

"The electorate has no say in the way candidates are selected by political parties. This leaves space for fielding candidates with criminal records," he said.

Based on analysis done by ADR, Ranade said 31 per cent of MPs and 35 per cent of elected representatives of various state legislatures have serious criminal charges against them.

Referring to the recent Supreme Court judgment on barring people with criminal charges from contesting elections, Ranade said the move was resisted by leaders. "We need to put pressure so that clean candidates are fielded by political parties," he said.

He said it is important that functioning of political parties is made democratic.

Ranade said candidates manage to win if he bags 13-14 per cent of votes.

"It is important that the voting percentage increases, which would compel political parties to field clean candidates," he said.

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