Debar criminals contesting polls: Election Commissioner

Bhubaneswar: Election Commission today advocated putting a ban on the persons having criminal background to contest elections beginning from gram panchayat to Parliament level.

"Most of the country`s problems can be solved if we succeed in debarring criminals from election process," Election Commissioner H S Brahma said at the 8th annual national conference on electoral and political reforms here. He said persons facing charges like murder, rape, loot and extortions have been made MLAs and MPs. The government should take a decision in this regard in order to save democracy."

"Once we decide to debar persons with criminal background from election process, ways will come out how to implement it," he said. Strongly criticising `paid news`, Brahma said, "Barring some, media is no longer free and fair as it has been under control of corporate houses. This is an area of concern for all of us."