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Election Commission of India NAME OF TIlE NEWS PAPER

HINDUSTAN TIMES

• SY Quraishi

TAMIL NADU, BENGAL CREATE HISTORY WITH HIGHEST POLLING Chetan Chauhan • chetan@hindustantimes.com

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NEW DELHI: A wind of change could have been the reason behind West Bengal and Tamil Nadu recording highest polling in their electoral history. West Bengal polled 84.46 % and Tamil Nadu 78.80 % in the recently conducted polls. Post-poll surveys have predicted rout of CPI(M}-led Left Front in West Bengal and the DMK unlikelyto retain power in Tamil Nadu. Women voters appear to have played an important role in West Bengal, where the highest polling had been in 1996 of 82.94 %. "Their participation in Bengal polls was higher than men," said chief election commissioner SY Quraishi. Much before the polls were announced, the commission had implemented an elaborate plan to improve voter participation. In late 2010, a survey in each of the five states - Assam, Kerala,Puducherry, Tamil nadu and West Bengal - to understand knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practices of voters. From beginning of this year, the commission started working on findings of the survey, which cited distance of the polling booths, congestion at the booths and intimidation as reasons for not voting. A senior official said a spe,.. cial officer was appointed in. each state to remove the barriers and thousands of new polling booths were set up to facilitating voters. "For the first time election commission officialsdistributed voter slips to each voter at their homes and it acted as reminder to them to come and vote," the official said. The cominission's efforts not only created a record in two states, voting percentages also increased in Assam, Kerala and Puducherry. Another high, indicating abuse of money,was also reportedfrom Tamil Nadu and Bengal. In Thmil Nadu, ~60.10crore was selied and ~8.35 crore from Bengal ofthe total ~4.27 crore • seized during polls in five states. >II

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/Chidambaram Right on Bengal's Law & Order: CEC dambaram over his adverse comment on the law and order situation in West Bengal may not be taken too kindly by the Left, which had raised objections against his criticism. The CEC's confirmation of the poor law and order situation in OUR POLITICAL BUREAU West Bengal came even as he NEW DELHI thanked the state governments of . The Election Commission has allfive states that wentto polls for backedHomeMinisterPChidam"co-operating" with EC's efforts baram's recent remarks on poor to keep the election free and fair. law and order in West Bengal, say"Probably he was Stating that the situation in , ing that he was only reflecting a referrln. to the widely West Bengal had been bothering "widely held opinion". held opinion. Law & order EC for a month and a half before The Commission added that law situation Is a concern In polls, Quraishi said the high and order concerns forced it to turnout and peaceful polling in schedule the polls over six phases West Bencal. That Is the the state was a "pleasant surand deploy large number of reason why we had six prise" in the end. He attributed forces in the Left-ruled state. phases of pollln&and this partly to the conversations When asked to comment on the deployed SO much that the EC repeatedly had with Left's criticism of PC's statement security In the state... political parties and partly to the - made at a press conference in co-operation of the state machinKolkata during a campaign visit Obvlously,amultl-phased eryandpollingpersonnel. last month - terming West Benpoll was a small price to West Bengal recorded its highgal as the worst-governed state in pay to ensure a free and est assembly poll turnout in histerms of law and order, Chief falreledlofi" tory in the just-concluded elecElection Commissioner (CEC) SY tion at 84.46%,a improvement of Quraishi said the home minister 3.02%over the turnout clocked in had not said anything wrong from SY QURAISHI 2006polls. poll point of view. CEC The peaceful polls were thanks "Probably he was referring to to the heavy deployment of Centhe widely held opinion. Lawand tral forces to ensure a free and tral para-military forces and the order situation is a concern in fair poll in West Bengal and their tightened monitoring of crimiWest Bengal. That is the reason actual availability had forced the nals in the state prior to and durwhy we had six phases of polling EC to stagger the polling over six ing the poll. As many as 34,381 and deployed so much security in phases and 23days. non-bailable warrants were exethe state," Quraishi told a press "Obviously, a multi-phased poll cuted in the state over 3-4months conference here. What the CEC was a small price to pay to ensure prior to polling and over 70,000 meant was that a large gulf be- a free and fair election," the CEC persons booked under Criminal tween the requirement of Cen- noted. The CEC's backing of Chi- Procedure Code.

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~ECworking on policy for .elecnonic media 13 statesman news service .NEW PELHI, 11 MAY:In a bid to keep a check on 1V channels owned by political parties, the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr S Y Quraisbi, today said the Election Commission is working on guidelines for the electronic media to ensure a level playing field to all. . Admitting that political partiesowned 1V channels might misuse them for political gains, Mr Quraishi said, "Weare also examining how to account for whether you are using your own channel for unlimited publicity. ~ are exam, ining it. Before the next elections, wewill have some policy in place". Mr Quraishi pointed out that in some of the states that wen.t to

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polls, most of the channels are owned by political parties. He said these.channels would charige the . complexion as they do not have to buy space on other channels. The EC admitted that it is a very complicated issue and it is making . all its efforts to evolve '. guidelines' so as to-keep check on misuse of visual media. "Weare considering it .and some guidelines are being evolved. We don't want to do anything in a haste," said the Election Commissioner, Mr V S Sampath. Mr Quraishi also laid stress on self-regu1ation by media arid political parties on paid news. "Definition and identification of paid news needs to be concrete," he added. On the issues of paper backup in the EVMs,the CEC said

the two public sector companies, BELand ECIl., have been asked to develop the system which would be examined by the EC's expert committee. He said the committee would test the paper trail backup in various weather conditions so that the machines prove their worth before they are put to use. The CEC also ruled out any move to go for Internet-based voting. "It is out of the question and not feasible," he said. He, however, asked political parties to make best use of Internet for bringing transparency in their accounts. "Political parties should pur-their accounts on their websites,' he suggested. . Mr Quraishi said the Election Commission is all geared up for the 13. May counting, of votes for

elections to Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union territory of Puducherry. A threetier security umbrella has been thrown around at counting halls. The results are expected to pour in by noon on' Friday. The vote count will take place at 839 counting halls and involve 43,982 officials'and nearly 17,700 central security personnel. The CEC also said the commis.sion would videograph the counting process, "Efficient and secure arrangements are in place for counting and declaration of reo . suits," he said. Mr Quraishi said counting . would take place in 312 counting halls in WestBengal, 142 in Assam, 140 in KeraJa, 11 in Puducherry and 234 in Tamil Nadu.


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!INSIDE NATION CEC on electronic media As the election cornmission gears up for counting of votes in five states on May 13, GEG SY Quraishi has termed the highest ever voter turnout as a "positive sign" while the EG 'on Wednesday made it clear that it is working on guidelines for the electronic media as several political parties own televi-

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Ee policy on electronic media soon Quraishi said "In some of vision channels will be place the states which went to before the next elections, "We are also examining NEW DELHI, MAY 11 polls most of the channels As the election commisare owned by political par- whether using your own chansion gears up for counting ties," adding this would nel for unlimited publicity, of votes in five states on deny other parties a level- how to account for (expensMay 13, The Chief playing field in the es)," he added. The problem Election Commiselections. He opined of parties owning channels or sioner SY Quraishi, that television chan- manipulating cable transmishas termed the nels owned by polit- sion .networks on muscle power, has cropped in Punjab highest ever voter ical parties would also. The Congress and the turn out as a "posichange the complextive sign" while the ion as they do not Akalis level allegations of EC today made it have to buy space on manipulation against each clear that it is work- SY Quraishi other channels. The other when in opposition. He said high turnout in ing on guidelines for elecCEC, while talking ·to the tronic media as - several media this morning on the the recently concluded political parties own televiconduct of polls in the five Assembly polls in five l,Sj,QP, <:~~n~.~~-,,..:, . '" .,,~,tilte§.,:~M,~ ~...p,?~!f.;y -.<?~J!;I~- . ,~,t~~~~~ils a positive ,~i,gn.J , TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

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/ Poll resu1~s.out by noon tOJnorrow .; . New Delhi: the outcome of . the Assembly polls for the four states of West Be,ngal, Taniil Nadu. Kerala~nd Assam and' the Unt<?n Territory of Pliduch~rty will be known by Fri~ay after-. 'noon, Chief Electl<;mC,?m: missioner S.Y. Quraishi said here on Wednesday, ' â&#x20AC;˘ Qetails on ~age 2 -/

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May 11: The outcome of the Assembly polls for the four states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Keralaand Assam and the Union Territory of Puducherry would be known by Friday noon when counting would be taken up in all the'839 counting halls, Chief .'Election Commissioner (CEC) $.Y. Quraishi stated this here on Wednesday. A three-tier security arrangement is already in place where counting is to be takenup at 8 am. A total of 43,892 officials would be involved in the exercise. The CEC said, "Efficient and secure arrangements are in place for counting and declaration of results." The entire process would be videographedto ensure that no malpractice takes place. Mr Quraishi said that counting would take place in 312 counting halls in I-

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West Bengal, 234 in Tamil Nadu, 140 in Kerala, 142 in Assam and 11 in Puducherry. He added that a comput-er centre would be functional in all the counting halls. . Referring to the high turnout in the polls, Mr Quraishi said that Tamil Nadu and West Bengal surpassed their 2006 Assembly poll figures by 11.26 per cent and 3.04 per cent. He said Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal also witnessed largescale voting by women. On the issue of overseas voters, Mr Quraishi said, out of the 8,820 voters registered, 4,639 of them exercised their franchise in Kerala, One overseas 'citizen even contested fromThodupuzha in Idukki district. On the question of money power in polls, the CEC said total of '{74.27 crores was jointly seized by the EC and the iricome-tax authorities. Tarriil Nadutopped the chart of with ,{6Q.l 0 crores.

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Traders bet ohAIADMK J. SHANMUGHA SUNDARAM I,(ELLORE

May 11: As the anguished wait for the results of the April 13 Assembly elections is nearing a close, traders' here have started placing bets among themselves and their customers. The AIADMK seems to be the hot favourite among the traders ahead of counting on Friday with most of them in Burma Bazaar betting on the AIADMK and its allies.

When asked about the challenges faced by the EC, he said voter indifference, security arrangements in Naxal-affected regions and paid news were some of ,th/_/

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New Delhi: The Election Commission is all set for counting of votes in the five states on Frfday It has set up 839 halls in 294 locations in the five states which went to the polls in which 14.16crore people20% of the country's total electorate - voted in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and Assam. Chief Election Commissioner SY QuraJsbi said on Wednesday durmg the entire election process, vote was not sought on communal and caste lines. He listed "inducement of voters through dis'::::~ tribution of money and in kind", paid news, voter apathy specially among youth and . urban educated and security ~, arrangement in Naxal-hit areas as the major challenges

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that the EC encountered in these elections. 'He also said, that in some states most of the television channels are owned by political parties that denies a level playing field to others, He said EC would come with a policy on this issue before the next election. On home minister P Chidambaram's statement during the campaign that West Bengal was the "worst governed" in terms of law and order, Quraishi said the home minister was expressing an opinion which was a widely held view in the country: "Probably he was referring to that. We did not find anything noteworthy from the election point of view," he said. Quraishi said EC deployed security and held election in six phases which points to law and orderproblem. Left had

complained to EC about the home minister's statement. As for results, Quraishi said the first one would be out by early lunch on Friday. An elaborate three-tier security arrangement has been put in place for the exercise, which would start at 8 in the morning and involve 43,982 officials and nearly 17,700 central security personnel. Giving details of the election in five states, Quraishi said in all states there was an all-time higher voter turnout. In fact, in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu it was highest in the past 60 years. In Tamil Nadu there was an 11 % increase from the last election while it was 3.04 % in West Bengal. Except Assam, women came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise in Kerala, Puducherry, West Bengal. ~

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Jaya, CPM ask EC for honest data operators PIONEER NEWS SERVICE CHENNAI

'THE VOTES THAT WERE PHYSICALLY ENTERED BY THE COUNTING OFFICERS OF RAJA KANNAPPAN WERE DELIBERATELY CHANGED BY THE DATA ENTRY OPERATORS AT THE TIME OF MAKING ENTRIES'

. Alleging that victory of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in Sivaganga Lok Sabha polls in 2009 to be a fraudulent one, AIADMK general secretary J [ayalalithaa and CPl (M) on Wednesday urged the Election Commission to appoint data entry operators of integrity for counting of votes. In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, Jayalalithaa wrote, "1 request the ECl to appoint data entry operators of integrity and also verify their credentials before facilitate his fraudulent they undertake the above assignment. 1 also request the victory:' She charged that the EC to permit one counting agent to be present at the alleged irregularities committed by the data entry operators time when the votes counted are entered in Form 20 to were done at the behest of the DMK Government and no I monitor whether correct '\ entries are made by the data action was taken on that, while challenging entry operators with regard to a petition , the votes counted:' Chidambarams victory was "During the counting of pending in the Madras High Court. votes for the Siva ganga Urging the Election Parliamentary Constituency, the votes polled in favour of the Commission to monitor the AIADMK candidate RS Raja data entry operators, the CPl I Kannappan were entered in (M) central committee memfavour of Chidambaram and ber and Rajya Sabha MP TK the votes polled in favour of Rangarajan said that it would take preventive steps to Chidambaram were entered "Siva ganga model counting in favour of Raja Kannappan," Jayalalithaa reasoned to back mystery': "In Sivaganga, where Home Minister P up her request. _ Jayalalithaa provided votes' Chidambaram made a mysteentries as entered physically by rious victory, we understand the counting agents and that of that the data entry operators, the entries made by data entry . who are the people at the final , operators to substantiate her link of the total process, are lured into manipulating the , arguments. : "The votes that were phys- compilation of votes while talically entered by the counting . lying to arrive at the final figagents/counting officers of ures. We apprehend the crossentry of votes polled by the Raja Kannappan were delibercandidates in ately changed by the data entry Opposition favour of the ruling party by operators at the time of making entries in Form 20," she some data entry operators with alleged, and went on to add, "A mala fide intent being attempted," alleged Rangarajan. , comparison of the hand writ'l\dditionally, we request ten entries made by the counting agents of Kannappan and that the observers ought to be sensitised to these developentries made by the data entry operators in Porm 20 clearly ments and are advised to keep .â&#x20AC;˘ reveal. that the votes polled in a watchful eye on the data fa~oJ:lf of Kannappan were' entry tables to prevent the Sivaganganga model victory of entet.ed with mala fide intenChidamabaram," . added the I iiorl"to favour the Congress candidate Chidambaram and CP1(M) leader .

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"West Bengal awaits results with bated breath' Election Commission can take credit for having seen a largely peaceful poll Marcus Dam'

peaceful poll, drawn out over an unprecedented six phases , KOLKATA: Now that the dust .and stretching over more has settled on what was.one of than three weeks, through. the most fiercely fought As- There was, even a special word sembly elections in the State, of congratulations from the West Bengal awaits its politiChief Election Commissioner cal destiny with bated breath. to the State's Chief Electoral May 13 seems to be an agonisOfficer for the smooth con- i ingly long time away. duct of a poll that had all the Last-minute reappraisals forebodings of being a trouare being made in different blesome exercise, given the political camps of feedback political violence in the prereceived from party workers ceding months, not to menat.the grass roots on the pos- tion the high stakes involved. sible outcome in their respecFocus of discourse tive areas, even as leaders pore over the data filtering in. And then there have been .exit Given the closeness of the the much-anticipated contests in several constitupolls whose predictions now encies, the imponderables at dominate discourse not just in political circles but also betimes appear overwhelming. The Election Commission yond. The responses are prehas reasons to pat itself on the dictable, drawing cheers and back for having seen ~ largely sneers, depending on which

years now, even though it . may have gained currency over the past term. Nor can the high voter turnout in the •• Pollsters have been often proved wrong, says election; where the average ·Biman Bose was not much more than that in the last Assembly polls, be construed as a definitive inside one is on. CPI(M) State secretary Bi- dicator, as has often been the With nearly all pollsters man Bose has been quick to case in other parts of the predicting a sweep for the respond - not just describing country. _. Trinamool Congress-Conthem as "bogus" but also gress alliance, a sense of quite correctly pointing out "Winds of change" smugness seems to have set in the pollsters have often been The question that will be . in the leadership of both the proved wrong; at times by answered when the electronparties that now believe that such high percentage points ic voting machines are unthe "winds of change" per- which might not only' have locked, come Friday, is ceived as having started blow- caused them embarrassment whether the Left Front has, ing across the State with the but also raised questions on since the last of the succesrural polis in May 2008 did the methodologies applied. sive electoral reversals it suffinally develop into a "tsunaThe last time the Trinamool fered over the 'past three mi" as Trinamool chief Ma- Congress-Congress fought an years, been able to make mata Banerjee has described .Assembly poll together - in enough of a turnaround in it in her own inimitable style. 2001 - the forecasts of most fortunes not just to successThe Left Front leadership, of the exit polls were way off fully fend off the "winds of particularly that of the Com- the mark. change," but also whether or munist Party ofIndia (MarxTalk of the "anti-incumnot the image of "resurgence" ist), is, however, not overly bency" factor is not new in-a it-has been projecting for it. worried, no matter how grim State that has seen no change self hasfinally held good in the exit polis assessments are. in government for nearly 34 the public mind .

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Tamil Nadu accounted for over 80% of the n4.27·crore cash the Election Commission seized from four states during the justconcluded assembly polls, Even though EC refused to divulge party-wise break-up of the ~60.l0 crore seized from Tamil Nadu, it acknowledged that the seizures could be the tip of the iceberg as far as election spending by the major political parties in the state was concerned. EC, with the co-operation of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, seized ~8.35crore from West Bengal, ~5.20 crore from Assam and ~62 lakh from Kerala. There was no cash seizure from the Union Territory of Puducherry; which too went to the poils. The assembly poil in five states saw an across-the-board increase in voter turnout, with WestBengal and Tamil Nadu recording the highest polling percentage in electoral history. Puducherry reported the highest turnout at 85.57%, and West

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Bengal saw over 3% increase in polling percentage at 84.46%. Kerala saw the turnout improve from 72.38% to75.l2%andAssam

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Cas up at polling booths. Of 8,820registered overseasvoters from Kerala, 4,369 voted. One of these voters also contested the election from Thodupuzha of Idukki district. In Kerala and Puducherry; EC for the first time held voting exclusively on the EPIC or the voter slip issued by it for those without voter l-cards. According to r.EC SY Quraishi, this could be doneas -there was 100% EPIC coverage in these two states. The "completely peaceful, incident-free elections," were made possible by nearly 7.4lakh poiling .personnel and 6.361akh security personneL According to Quraishi, inducement of voters through distribution of money in cash and kind, paid news, voter apathy among youth and urban educated and securrtyarrangement in Naxal-hit areas were major challenges encountered in these elections. The EC expressed satisfaction that there were no appeals on from 75.77% to 76.04%. This was the first election where communal or caste lines, provocoverseas Indians could vote if ative speeches or serious hate speeches this time. they were registered and turned


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'Level playing

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May 11: The EC on Wednesday said that it is working on guidelines for \ the electronic media to ensure a level playing field for political parties that 'own television channels and those that cannot boast of having one. Addressing a press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y,.. Quraishi, flanked by the other - two commissioners, Mr V.S. Sarnpath and Mr H.S. Brahma, said, "In some of the states which went to polls, most of the channels are owned by political parties," Noting that parties that I have channels of their own would.change the complexion of the game, the CEC ' said that the EC was examining on how to go about evolving a policy on it. He 'Said, ~'We also examining whether using your own' channel for unlimited publicity, how to account for i,kxpenses." /


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The Election Commission is formulating guidelines to account for campaigning carried out by political parties through television channels owned and operated by their affiliates, Conflrrning that theEC was concerned over political entities using party channels to generate unlimited publicity ,for them- , selves and their candidates dur- { ing polls, C~G~Y Quraishi said the 'commission was now examining how to account for the expenses made on such publicity. Election Commission VS Sampath said EC was holding intensive consultations to draw up , guidelines for monitoring chan- , nels owned by individuals or $ firms affiliated to political 'par- I ties. As part of its efforts to curb l \ illegal money power in polls? EC '1 is also holding consultations 1 over a proposal to introduce au- ; dit of accounts of polit~cal par- II ties and bring contributions from individuals and business- j es inpublicdomain. i Guidelines on monitoring of ' news channels owned by political families and their aides, according to an EC source, would focus on accounting for expenses incurred on publicity for the political party running the channel or its candidates during polls. . The EC's decision to monitor party-run channels comes after complaints of misuse of news channels in Tamil Naduand Kerala to woo voters.

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10 Some measures considered are to divide the cost of running these channels in election expenditure of all candidates of the party supported by the channel. In case, individual candidates are promoted, the cost of that campaign will be automatically added to the expenditure of the candidate. Candidates and parties have an upper spending limit as per EC guidelines, As per officials, a committee will be entrusted the job of monitoringthat TV channels implement the new guidelines. It will hear complaints and issue notices to the news channels. Even though I&B ministry guidelines prohibit a party to run a TV news channel, there is no ban on persons with political affiliations to run them. Therefore all news channels said to be of political parties are owned by individuals. For instance, Tamil Nadu, which has the maximum number ofsuch channels.rincludjng Kalaignar v'I'V owned by' DMK chief K Karunanidhi's family members and Jaya TV owned by Jayalalithaaherself. ~


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1 2 f.,IAY 2011

INTERVIEW: .. 5 Y QURAISHI

1State funding of polls may

CHIEF

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not curb use of black money As the long-drawn process of assemblyelections infour states and one Union territory was about to draw to a close, FE's Nistula Hebbar caught up with chief election commissioner SY Quraishi for an interuieui. The CEC talked aboutthepollprocess, use of money power in electioneering, paid news and why he thought that memoirs are a bad idea. It has been a fairly peaceful poll all around, So do you feel justified holding six phases of polls for West Bengal and a month-long wait for the results for the rest? Fairly peaceful? These polls weretotallypeaceful. And only the media seems to be having a problem with the long-drawn-out polls, despite the fact that we have given you enough news fodder for two months! Anyway,seriously, we are not fools to have scheduled the polls in a certain way.WestBengal needed a massive infusion of security and political parties have not questionedthisandactuallydonot question this anymore. It is a small price to pay for a free andfairpoll. In Tamil Nadu, there was amassive crackdown on the use of money power during the elections, which got you and others in the

Election Commission into a war of words with the DMKin particular. (DMK chief) M Karunanidhi likened the situation to the emergencyera. During elections, tempers are high and we take these things in our stride. Politicians are shrewd enough to know why we are doing what we are doing. It is our job to conduct free and fair polls, in order to fulfil our constitutional duty.If someone has a problem with that, then, too bad. You've said earlier that it is tougher to combat money power than muscle power, In this scenario, are you in favour of state funding of elections? Money is generally tougher to crack down on as it is more insidious and both the one who distributes and the one who receives it rarely complain. Having said that, I am not in favour of state funding of elections, since the issue is the spending of black money and not white. Here, we get the accounts from candidates and political parties of the white money they spend. When state funding happens, then too we will get an accounting done, but the aim to curb the black money might not be met. With state funding, we will only be

facilitating all the money,which is now being spent in white, being turned black. So where is the use of sucha system? There is only the tough road left for electoral reforms in this matter, and that is for political parties to beaware, transparent. Accept money only through cheque, publish the names of your donors so voters know if there is any post-electoral quid pro quo involved. With regard to limits to expenditure, there is a reason why there are limits, which is to-make sure that electoral politics is not the ex-


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elusive domain of the rich and anyone can fight elections. We subscribe to this logic. During the last elections, the issue of paid news came up in a big way. Whatis the progress on that front? In the assembly elections in Bihar this time, we saw 86 notices served for paid news and in most cases parties and candidates came forward to own up to the matter. We are exploring legal options and implications of "misleading" the people by making advertorials look like news content. Having said that, we have a media monitoring committee in every district, and I am happy to say that in these elections, the cases have been negligible. Of course that could also be that in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal political parties themselves are significant media groups in themselves. But even party-owned outlets cannot exceed expenditure limits. After the jasmine revolution, the Egyptians had been in touch with you for the conduct of their elections. What advice did you give them?

Well,we were one of the countries the Egyptians had approached for some help and guidance and wegavepresentations on the way we do things. I did tell them, however, that they should not import electronic voting machines (EVMs) from other countries. The bulwark on which a democratic society is based is the conduct of free and fair elections, imported machines will always be vulnerable to charges of rigging. Even in India, we import the chip in the machine, after which there has been a campaign that our EVMs are faulty. Why take the risk, I asked them. Your tenure will end in 2012, and you are a man who has a wide range of interests. What are your plans? I am in the process of writing a bookon Urdu poetry for non-Urdu speakers. I'm also planning to write one on family planning and Islam as there are many myths about the subject. Any plans for a memoir? Not really. I am of the view that writing memoirs is never a good idea, since one has a tendency to either brag or be too self effacing while writing it.

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