March 3, 2009

Who can contest Lok Sabha elections - and who cannot

With parliamentary elections announced in India, and with nearly 25 percent of the country's 714 million voters below the age of 35, there are tens of thousands of political aspirants who would throw themselves as candidates in the poll fray. What are the qualifications that are needed to contest the election?

A person who wants to fight the elections just needs to be an Indian citizen, not less than 25 years of age, and should be a voter from any parliamentary constituency in the country.

However, there are several criteria for disqualification, says the PRS Legislative Research. A candidate can be disqualified on the ground that he or she is convicted for an offence and sentenced to imprisonment.

Another important factor is that the prospective candidate should not be disqualified by any law made by parliament or for political defection.

For a government servant, a criteria for disqualification could be that he or she has been dismissed for corruption or for disloyalty to the state.

Also, a person should not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for bribery, or punished for preaching and practising social crimes such as untouchablity, dowry and sati.

And last, but not the least, the candidate must not be of unsound mind.

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