Parties in a tizzy over new election regulations

NEW DELHI OCT. 13. Some are worried over the level of transparency being sought to be introduced in the electoral system, while others are trying to come to terms with the stringent norms that are required to be filled in the nomination form at the time of entering the contest. The political parties in the Capital are in a tizzy over the new regulations and there is already talk that nearly 50 per cent of the candidates, sitting or new ones, would not be able to qualify and their nomination papers would be rejected.

The reaction among the political parties and representatives to the new format has been nothing short of panic. In fact, the Congress party has already decided to set up a legal cell to deal with the situation. According to the DPCC chief spokesman, Jagdish Tytler, it has been decided to hire the services of one lawyer and one senior chartered accountant to deal with the demanding formalities in the new format which has been introduced by the Election Commission on the directive of the Supreme Court. ``I propose to meet the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, along with the AICC in charge, Ahmed Patel, to apprise her of the new format which could create a lot of complications for the contesting candidates or the prospective ones,'' Mr. Tytler added.

A number of options are already being thought of by the political parties to cover up their tracks in case of any eventuality. Many political representatives feel that it would not be possible for the contesting candidates to fill the new nomination forms without the help of experts. In fact, the new format could also put an end to the tendency of the political parties to release the final list of candidates at the eleventh hour. As the new format of the nomination form requires a lot of homework and paper work, it will not be safe for the candidates to fill the forms on the last day as any flaw can occur and cost him or her and the party the seat. The list of candidates would have to be released on time so that the contesting candidate gets adequate time to fill in all the lengthy details. It is understood that the political parties are toying with the idea of holding special workshops for the party workers and informing them about the precautions to be taken in this regard.

Agreeing that the new format was complicated, the Delhi BJP president, Madan Lal Khurana, said that it would be imperative to hold workshops to educate the contesting candidates about the requirements of the new format. Also, he said, it would also be important for the political parties to announce their candidates well in time. But then there are others also who feel that the new norms would bring about the much-required transparency in the political system and make the contesting candidates more accountable and put them up for scrutiny. It is also felt that this could also trigger off the induction of good people into the electoral system as the kind of criminal and corrupt elements, with a number of cases piled up against them, could get eliminated as details about the criminal activities and properties would have to be furnished along with the nomination papers. If any candidate tries to hide facts and it is later revealed, then he would stand to lose his seat and risk being debarred from contesting in future also.

But there are others who feel that some of the details being sought could be misused by the opponents to show the candidate in poor light as a number of cases are politically motivated. But by and large the people are welcoming the new format and those who are for cleaning up of the system.

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