Express buzz
Gangadhar S Patil

CHENNAI: Soon, voters in Tamil Nadu will be able access complete information on criminal records, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications of candidates through an SMS.

All that one will have to do is send an SMS (MYNETA ) to 56070. The sender will receive details of all the candidates contesting from a particular constituency. Information texted will be based on self-declared affidavits filed by the candidates at the time of nominations.

While details of candidates for upcoming elections could be made available after March 30, 2011 (the last date for withdrawal of candidature), the details of sitting MLAs could be accessed through SMS from March 14, 2011.

The SMS service is a part of campaign undertaken by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a Delhi-based NGO founded in August 1999 by professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, with the aim strengthening democracy and governance in India by focusing on fair and transparent elections.

“Giving out information on candidates would create informed voters and lead to free and fair elections,” said Anil Bairwal, National Coordinator of ADR. “It is an attempt to end criminalisation of politics and make voters aware of their candidates so that they can make an informed choice.”

The SMS service will start soon after the process of filing nominations commences. “As and when the candidates file their self-declared affidavits to the Election Commission, we will update our website with information on the criminal cases, assets and other details,” said Sudarsan Padmanabhan, Coordinator, ADR-Tamil Nadu and Assistant Professor with IIT-Madras.

The self-declared affidavits filed by contestants would be checked by Returning Officers at the constituencies and then sent to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). The information would also be made available online at

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