Prez anguished over criminalisation of politics

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) President Pratibha Patil todayvoiced serious concern over criminalisation of politics andinfluence of money power in elections and favoured necessarylegislative measures to make electoral processes more robustand free of any malpractices.

"Some of the persistent concerns are the criteria forcandidates to fight elections, so that criminals and othersuch elements are debarred from contesting elections," shesaid on the National Voters'' Day which coincides with thefoundation of the Election Commission.

Good electoral practices and high conduct would attractthe youth as well as talented and capable people to politics,she said adding "the influence of money need to be curbed."

"Elections are not about buying votes, it is aboutselecting candidates committed to working for the aspirationsof the people and hence eligible to be representative of thepeople," Patil said.

"Money can distort choices of the people, when voters areinfluenced through free distribution of goods, or throughdistortion of perception through paid news," she said adding"if need be, necessary legislation and procedures must beintroduced to achieve these objectives."

She said carrying out the most extensive and mammothelection process in the world with exceptional success was nomean achievement, the President said.

The Commission has not only helped strengthen democracy athome but also enhanced the global prestige of the country as ademocracy, she said.

The President also presented awards for the best electoralpractices under various categories to Rajasthan, Jharkhand,West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala andMeghalaya.

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