President Patil expresses concern over use of money power in elections

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (ANI): Expressing concern over the influence of money in the elections, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today said elections are not about buying votes, it is about selecting candidates committed to working for the aspirations of the people.

Speaking at the concluding ceremony of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Election Commission of India here, Patil said: "We should also be constantly looking at how processes can be improved, and how our democracy can be further strengthened. Some of the persistent concerns are the criteria for candidates to fight elections, so that criminals and other such elements are debarred from contesting elections."

"Good electoral practices and high conduct will attract the youth as well as talented and capable people to politics. The influence of money needs to be curbed. Elections are not about buying votes, it is about selecting candidates committed to working for the aspirations of the people and hence, eligible to be a representative of the people," she added.

On paid news, President Patil said the Election Commission will continue to look at ways and means to make electoral processes much more robust and free of any malpractices.

"Money can distort choices of the people, when voters are influenced through free distribution of goods, or through distortion of perception through paid news. I am sure that the Election Commission will continue to look at ways and means to make our electoral processes and procedures much more robust and free of any malpractices. If need be, necessary legislation and procedures must be introduced to achieve these objectives," she added.

Commenting on the role of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in conducting successfully 15 Lok Sabha and more than 300 elections to the State Legislative Assemblies in over last six decades, thereby facilitating peacefully, orderly and democratic transfer of power, President Patil said this experience gained by the ECI has enabled it to improve and adopt latest technological tools for enhancing quality and quantity of its operations.

President Patil also launched the National Voters Day. Patil handed over Voters Identity Cards to five newly enrolled voters.

The voters were given a badge with a slogan 'Proud to be a voter - Ready to Vote,' during the felicitation ceremony. (ANI)

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