Bhubaneswar, May 5 (IANS) Describing the participation of criminals in polls as one of the major problems the country is facing, Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma Saturday called upon the people to make efforts to debar them from participating.
"The day we debar criminals from participating in the polls, 95 percent of our problems will be solved," Brahma said while addressing the delegates on the opening day of the two-day national conference on electoral and political reforms here.
He said that criminals were entering into all levels of electoral process starting from village council election to the polls for assembly and parliament.
Saying that the Election Commission has been making efforts to prevent participations of such people, he said every citizen in the country should join in this effort.
Expressing his displeasure on the delay in the decision-making on such issues at top levels, he said the commission has submitted about two dozens of proposals to the government during last two decades but "results were yet to come."
He also highlighted the challenges faced by the commission, saying around 75 crore voters from the country's population of around 120 crore are going to exercise their franchise in 2014 general election in 10,00,000 plus polling stations.
"More than one crore employees will be engaged for this which is a stupendous task," he said.
He called upon people to join hands and ensure free and fare elections by taking steps to deal with issues such as paid news, black money and bringing electoral and political reforms.
At least 400 delegates are attending the conference organised by prominent non-political groups - National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms.
Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qurashi will address the delegates Sunday.
Representatives of all major political parties are participating in discussions on the Political Parties (Registration and Regulation of Affairs, etc.) Act, 2011, Ranjan Mohanty, state coordinator of the NEW told IANS.
Media personalities, retired judges, bureaucrats, police officers and political analysts have joined discussions on issues like role of media, money power, role of youths and participation of women in elections, he added.
Local representatives of political parties are also participating in large numbers, he added.