Money culture in elections a major challenge: CEO

RONO HILLS, Feb 18: “The spending of crores of rupees during election time by the contesting candidates is one of the major challenges in the state,” said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kaling Tayeng on Monday.
He said this during a workshop titled ‘Citizens and election in Arunachal Pradesh’ conducted at Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) here by the university’s political science department in collaboration with the chief electoral office.
The workshop started with observance of a two-minute silence to pay homage to the CRPF jawans who were martyred in a terrorist attack in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir on 14 February.
The CEO highlighted the challenges in conducting elections in the state, and spoke on how linking Aadhaar cards with election photo identity cards (EPIC) would reduce violence during elections.
“The CEO’s office shall also install recording devices to record the electioneering process for smooth conduct of elections in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections,” he said.
RGU Vice Chancellor Prof Saket Khuswaha, said “honesty is a personal conviction which builds character and builds the nation,” and urged voters to “vote on ethical lines, considering the values of democracy.”
RGU political science professor Nani Bath in his address said, “Some of the loopholes that create gaps in conducting free and fair elections are unethical practices like
clan- and community-based politics, flow of money culture, non-transparent disclosure of assets by the candidates, etc.”
Prof Bath suggested creating awareness among the voters “through literary clubs, in tandem with youths and students” to overcome the problems.
Programme coordinator Dr David Gao said “voters in Arunachal Pradesh have to vote keeping in view the democratic ideals,”
He also highlighted the malaise surrounding student and youth bodies’ elections in Arunachal, during which crores of rupees are reportedly spent.
The baseline survey report prepared by the RGU’s political science department was also released during the programme.