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'I am against compulsory voting'

world Updated: Jun 26, 2011 09:05 IST

PTI
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Chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi has expressed concern over the use of black money in polls in the country, but said he is not in favour of the state funding them as it would not stop such a practice.

"Muscle power is now history. We are worried about money power," he said.

Explaining the rationale behind not favouring state-funding, he said, excess money used in the elections is "black money" and those who have black money were bound to use it even if state-funding is introduced.

At an event organised by the Indian Journalists Association, Europe, at the Court House Hotel in central London, Quraishi said he was also opposed to compulsory voting.

"I am against compulsory voting. Instead we reach out to voters and in the recent assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other places the voting percentage was as high as 80 to 85%.
"Bihar which had 88 poll related murders in the past had not even a drop of blood shed."

He praised the country's electoral system and said several countries had sought India's expertise in conducting elections.

"It was to help other countries, the government had set up an International Institute For Democracy and Elections and the first batch from Kenya was undergoing training there," he said.

Peter Wardle, the chief executive of the Electoral Commission in the UK who was also present appreciated the work done by the Indian Election Commission and said the Commonwealth was also aware of the good work done by the Indian Election Commission.

Deputy high commissioner of India to the UK Rajesh Prasad said the Election Commission of India has strengthened democracy in the country.

"The manner in which we conduct our elections efficiently and announce the results timely is very well appreciated and we can offer our expertise to other countries," he said.