NATIONAL

3,300 candidates disqualified in 3 years for not filing statements

NEW DELHI, FEB. 26 . The Election Commission has disqualified about 3,300 candidates in the last three years from various States from contesting the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in a few States for not filing the expenditure statements within the stipulated time.

The Deputy Election Commissioner, A.N. Jha, told presspersons that the disqualifications were made since April 2001, as they did not file the statutory accounts statement with the Commission within 45 days of the completion of the election process.

To a question, he said the Commission was still compiling party-and-State-wise figures and the list of the debarred candidates would be circulated to the returning officers for the coming elections to enforce the ban.

The maximum number of defaulters was from Uttar Pradesh — about 1,000. The debarred candidates cannot contest any election for three years from the date of their disqualification.

Mr. Jha said various States would have by-elections to vacant Assembly seats along with the Lok Sabha polls and Assembly elections in four States — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Sikkim. These by-polls included one Assembly seat each in Delhi, Kerala and Mizoram and two each in Bihar and Chhattisgarh. Mr. Jha said the Commission was finalising the requirement of para- military forces in various States in consultation with the Home Ministry. Several States had revised their requirements after submitting the estimates.

Asked about the public interest litigation petition filed in the Delhi High Court against the "India shining" campaign of the Government, he said the Commission's stand would be conveyed to the Court during the hearing on March 3.