17 April, 2021

The Slush Meter

This time, candidates have to declare their assets and liabilities. Will it bring transparency or refine evasion?

Jitender Gupta
The Slush Meter
You can't get that brazen about fighting elections in India anymore. There will always be those who'll bend the rules if they can't amend them, but now they run the risk of what Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh once colourfully described in an Outlook interview as "a striptease act where you take off everything and expose yourself entirely". A political class that has always resisted moves to make public their private dealings hadn't taken too kindly to the remark.

And they will like it even less now. For the first time, fortified by Supreme Court directions, the Election Commission has made it mandatory for all candidates to lay their lives bare. To be implemented in the coming assembly polls in five states, the much-delayed step will hopefully strengthen transparency and enable the voter to make an informed choice.

Candidates will now have to file a detailed affidavit with the district authorities, copies of which will be made available to the public. Says the cec: "Political parties aren't willing to give returning officers powers (to disqualify)....

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