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Sonia seeks more efforts to de-criminalise elections

New Delhi, Jan 25 (Calcutta Tube) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday exhorted political parties to make more efforts to de-criminalise elections in the country.

Emphasising the need to reach a consensus to keep candidates with criminal background out of elections, she said there was a need to check money and muscle power during polls.

‘We need to do more for contending with the influence of money and muscle power. We must even try for greater transparency. We also need to build consensus on how to prevent individuals with criminal records from contesting elections,’ Gandhi, who is also the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), said at a function here to celebrate the Election Commission of India’s diamond jubilee.

Maintaining that the Election Commission is the most important institution for empowerment, she said that in the past six decades, the panel has helped in strengthening the democracy by ensuring regular parliamentary/state legislative elections.

Assuring its full support to the Election Reform Agenda formulated by the poll panel, the government said it would hold ‘a series of consultation’ this year to evolve a consensus on this issue.

‘To evolve a consensus on this issue, a series of consultations will be initiated from June this year,’ Law and Justice Minister Veerappa Moily said in his speech at the function.

‘Elections breed life into democracy and are act of faith in democracy,’ he said.

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