Saturday, Jul 13, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
The party's politburo member, Sitaram Yechury, made the party's stand clear in a statement here today.
He said the intention behind the Central Election Commission (CEC) notification seeking information on the antecedents and assets of the candidates was laudable. It was in line with the CPI(M) stand against criminalisation of politics. The party had never fielded any candidate with a criminal background.
The CPI(M) believed and practised the policy requiring its leaders to declare annually their assets and earnings before renewal of their party membership. It was the only party which called for ban on corporate funding of political parties and which had in the 1998 elections turned down voluntary donations from the Tatas. It requested the corporate world to instead send the donations to the Government or the CEC to facilitate State funding of elections.
Mr. Yechury said it differed with the CEC not on grounds of intentions but the mechanics suggested. The CEC did not clearly distinguish between political activists charged with criminal cases and actual criminals. This was a "blatant discrimination'' against political workers which needed to be resolved through consultation with all parties.
Also, the CEC provisions empowered the returning officer to reject any nomination on the basis of information provided by the candidate. This was arbitrary for a candidate's nomination could be rejected even on a case of violation of Section 144 of the Cr.P.C.
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