Kolkata, June 02 (HS): In a major reform to bring in more transparency, the Election Commission of India has launched a massive exercise to "delist" about 1,000 of the total 1689 registered political parties which have no representation in the national or regional politics for a long time and has no political base anywhere.
This was announced here today by Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat during an interactive session on "Electoral Integrity and Role of Money in Elections", organised by the city"s premier Merchants" Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).
Replying to queries on the usefulness of having so many (1689) political parties in the country when most of them having no presence or representation in any of the states or union territories for long, and had no role in the country"s electoral politics, the CEC agreeing to the fact said keeping this in mind they had recently initiated steps to first identify such non representative parties in every state before delisting them from the electoral processes once and for all.
"Since as per the Supreme Court rule we cannot de-register any of these parties because of the constitutional obligations, we have the right to delist those from the electoral programmes who had no role or any base anywhere, Rawat said further clarifying his stand on the issue.
The CEC arrived here on Saturday on a day"s visit to the state and hold a high level meeting with the state Chief Electoral Officer Aariz Aftab and review the state"s preparedness to hold the next year"s Lok Sabha poll.
When his attention was drawn to the fact that during the 16th Lok Sabha elections in 2014, out of a total 1689 political parties who took part in the election process, as many as 1652 parties drew blank and failed to get any seat and only 37 others had their representation in the present Lok Sabha, Rawat said they were fully aware of the fact and accordingly drew the attention of both the Supreme Court and Central government to take cognizance of it to enable the EC to take suitable steps to end the mess once and for all.
On whether he had set any timeline for completing the delisting process, the CEC replied in the negative, but said efforts were being made to complete the task before the next General elections in 2019.
When completed it would not only open a new vista in the country"s electoral politics but would also make a big leap forward towards preventing the efforts of some vested interests to make mockery of Indian democracy, which was otherwise highly respected worldwide for its vibrancy and transparency, Rawat said.