Prez anguished over criminalisation of politics

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday voiced serious concern over criminalisation of politics and influence of money power in elections and favoured necessary legislative measures to make electoral processes more robust and free of any malpractices.

"Some of the persistent concerns are the criteria for candidates to fight elections, so that criminals and other such elements are debarred from contesting elections," she said on the National Voters`Day which coincides with the foundation of the Election Commission.

Good electoral practices and high conduct would attract the youth as well as talented and capable people to politics, she said adding "the influence of money need to be curbed."

"Elections are not about buying votes, it is about selecting candidates committed to working for the aspirations of the people and hence eligible to be representative of the people," Patil said.

"Money can distort choices of the people, when voters are influenced through free distribution of goods, or through distortion of perception through paid news," she said adding "if need be, necessary legislation and procedures must be introduced to achieve these objectives."

She said carrying out the most extensive and mammoth election process in the world with exceptional success was no mean achievement, the President said.

The Commission has not only helped strengthen democracy at home but also enhanced the global prestige of the country as a democracy, she said.

The President also presented awards for the best electoral practices under various categories to Rajasthan, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Meghalaya.