Rao was speaking at the inaugural session of an international conference.
Mumbai: Maharashtra governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao Thursday said that there should be a consensus among political parties that persons with criminal background should not be given tickets to contest elections.
Mr Rao was speaking at the inaugural session of an international conference titled “Better Elections for Healthier Democracy”. The session was held to celebrate completion of 25 years of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India. “Political parties should form a consensus so that tickets are not given to people with criminal backgrounds. Political parties should not just see the winning capability of the candidates but also consider that the candidate has a clean image and does not have a criminal background,” he said.
He said that state election commissions should be treated on par with the Election Commission of India as the former played a significant role in conducting polls for local bodies, thereby strengthening grassroots’ democracy. Citing an example, he said that the Maharashtra Election Commission had a mammoth task, considering the fact that it conducted elections for 250,000 representatives every five years for approximately 28,000 local bodies. He added that the population of Maharashtra was higher than that of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together. Stating that India was emerging as a youthful nation, Rao recommended starting “Democracy Clubs” in schools and colleges to engage students in democracy and the poll process.
He also called upon state election commissions to deliberate on making the electoral process more inclusive for persons with disabilities as well as for officials who were unable to cast their vote on account of national duty. The Maharashtra State Election Commission should create a digital platform to share experiences and success stories related to the conduct of polls, he said. This would help in adoption of best practices.