Will Goan politicians disclose their assets ?

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 03 May 2002 21:57 IST

The election commission is still undecided whether Goa elections will follow the latest Supreme Court order, making it mandatory for every candidate to furnish details of assets, liabilities and criminal record, if any.

The political parties here have also responded to it in a very cautious manner, though they have welcomed it in principle.

Goa Assembly polls are scheduled for 30 May and the nomination process is beginning from 6 May, with hardly three days remaining to make any kind of new additions.

"We are waiting for guidelines in this regard from the central election commission", said R P Pal, joint electoral officer. He expects communication from Delhi by tomorrow.

According to Pal, nomination forms have already been printed and dispatched to the concerned returning officers all over the state. However, if told to follow, he is prepared to print and attach an addendum to the existing nomination form.

The new guideline from the apex court basically instructs to add more columns to the nomination forms, giving details of assets of the candidate, his family and other dependants, details of his debts to any public financial institution and his criminal record.

The court has also given two-month time to the CEC to implement it.

"It will make no impact on ground realities, except recording the history", feels chief minister Manohar Parrikar. According to the BJP leader, filing five-year income tax returns could have made more impact.

The candidate's criminal record is mostly known to the voters, he states, while the illegally accumulated assets are always benami and will be never disclosed to the authorities by such 'wealthy' candidates.

Shantaram Naik, former Congress MP, also feels that such a guideline could make its real impact only when it is thoughtfully converted in the form a legislation.

He is however of the firm opinion that it should not be implemented for coming Goa polls as candidates may not have readymade records of assets and liabilities to go and file it immediately.

The last date for nominations here is 13 May.


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