The Economic Times

AHMEDABAD: Terming the "excessive use of money" during polls as a big problem, the Election Commission today said there was a need to curb money power in such exercises as it was against democracy.

"There is a great need to reduce the role of money in elections as it creates an uneven playing field during elections. It vitiates democracy. Excessive use of money is a big problem in elections," ECI Director General (Expenditure) P K Dash said.

Dash was here for the launch of Gujarat Election Watch (GEW), the state chapter of National Election Watch(NEW), a conglomeration of over 1,200 civil society organisations working on political and electoral reforms.

"There is also a risk of foreign funding for political parties to destabilise the polity and use of money for bribing of MLAs for Rajya Sabha elections," he said.

He also gave a brief outline of the new strategies in the election expenditure monitoring process, like shadow observation register, static surveillance teams, flying squads, video surveillance and capturing all media advertisements.

Chief electoral officer Gujarat, Anita Karwal, said that direct intelligence from the public can help counter malpractices during elections.

Measures were being taken in the state regarding voters' registration and for ensuring transparency in the dissemination of information, she said.

Gujarat coordinator for GEW, Jagdeep Chhokar, said district-level programmes would be launched in the state from next month.

According to Chhokar, work would be done towards analysing the source of income of political parties this year, including the source of funds and how it is used.

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