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Need to ban criminals in elections

In his article, Electoral Reforms: Election Commission has to do a lot more (Feb 17), V. Eshwar Anand has sensitised Indian society which seems to have lost faith in the system. Our electoral system is entirely responsible for increasing criminalisation of politics. Had it been so powerful, people with criminal antecedents would not have been elected to Parliament and state legislatures.

As political parties seem reluctant to enact legislation banning criminals in elections, the government should take the lead in convincing them about the menace. It should implement the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify criminals from contesting elections by making amendment in the Representation of the People Act.

If an FIR is registered for an offence against a person, he/she should be barred from contesting the election till he/she is exonerated. Simultaneously, the government should introduce state aid to fund the expenditure of those contesting elections.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh


I agree with the writer’s contention that electoral reforms should be given the highest priority. The political will for such reforms is lacking as status quo suits most MPs and MLAs over changing the very rules of the game which made them victorious. Our leaders should indeed show statesmanship for the sake of our democracy and the civil society should continuously prod them to do so.  As the integrity and impartiality of the Election Commissioners are a must, the suggestion for a collegium for their selection is apt.



No doubt, Mr T.N. Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner, ruled like a dictator. However, he has amply demonstrated that the Election Commission and its functionaries can do a lot in improving the electoral system and ensuring free and fair elections.

As poor candidates are unable to match the money power of the rich and the affluent, the matter requires rethinking in a manner that elections do not end up as unequal contests. The need of the hour is to ban criminals from contesting elections. Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh should give top priority to check criminalisation of politics.

O.P. GARG, Patiala


The blame for increasing criminalisation of politics squarely lies on the successive governments at the Centre and political parties for their failure to amend the Representation of the People Act to ban criminals’ entry into Parliament and state legislatures.

The Election Commission, however, must play an effective role in curbing the brazen use of money power in elections. Indeed, it has to do a lot more in this regard. Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily’s initiative for a national consultation on electoral reforms in June this year is appreciable. The article should act as a catalytic agent and give the much-needed push to reforms.

TARA CHAND, Ambota (Una)

Novel move

I read the report, Arunachal students say no to Chinese goods (Feb 22). I think all Indians, particularly the youth, should join the novel move initiated by the All-Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union to register their protest over China’s repeated “claim over our state that is very much part of Indian territory”, and we should stop using any Chinese products. Surely, we remember even the British Raj was shaken by the ‘Swadeshi’ movement.

Of course, the report also blames the enforcement agencies for their failure to control the inflow of Chinese goods. But once we say ‘No to Chinese goods’, the mission is accomplished to safeguard our economy and self-respect.

Prof RAVI K. MAHAJAN,  Chandigarh

Metro for Chandigarh

A metro for Chandigarh is long overdue. For this, political will and bureaucratic support are a must. The Chandigarh airport is a shining example of official apathy and neglect.

It has hardly acquired a national status, let alone becoming an international airport. Successive governments at the Centre have spoken about it for years, but little has been done about it.

The authorities concerned should learn from Pakistan. Lahore has an international airport with direct flights from Europe and the US. Why can’t Chandigarh have one?

STEESH C. SOOD, Glasgow (UK)

Thrill on the rooftops

Sarvjit Singh’s middle, Paradise regained (Feb 20) takes us to the days we basked in sun on the rooftops. With the changing designs of houses and threats posed by modern society, people have been relegated to the artificial climes of their living rooms. Rooftops were the places where most children enjoyed their childhood days — be it flying kites, reading books, exchanging smiles with a neighborhood girl or just watching the house sparrows munch on some pieces of bread.

In summers, during night, rooftops provided natural air conditioning. In winters, one could steal a nap in the warm afternoon. Rooftops gave many opportunities to watch the splendour of the setting sun or twinkling stars.

With changing times, rooftops have been encroached upon by mobile towers. Today we may be captives of the high rise buildings but the mind still longs for that eluding room on the roof!




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